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Full text of "Poems"

Cbe Hew 'OtiifergaC Xibtan? 



RUSKIN'S POEMS 



THE UNIVERSAL EDITION OF 
JOHN RUSKIN'S WORKS 

Modern Painters, 5 vols. With 314 Illustrations 
and Plates and 1 Coloured Plate. 

The Stones of Venice, 3 vols. With 166 Illustra- 
tions and Plates and 7 Coloured Plates. 

The Seven Lamps of Architecture. With 14 
Plates. 

Lectures on Architecture and Painting. With 23 
Illustrations. 

Elements of Drawing. With 48 Illustrations. 

' Unto this Last '. 

The Two Paths : On Decoration and Manu- 
facture. With 2 Plates and 12 Illustrations. 

The Political Economy of Art, subsequently 
called A Joy for Ever. 

Selections from His Writings. 

The Poetry of Architecture ; with all the original 
illustrations. 

Pre-Raphaelitism, and Notes on Pictures. 

The Harbours of England ; with all the original 
illustrations. 

The Elements of Perspective ; with 80 figures. 

Essays on Political Economy, subsequently 
called Munera Pulveris. 

Poems. 

Sesame and Lilies. June 1907. 

The Illustrations and Plates are throughout 
printed on Art Paper. 
The other Works to follow in course. 



POEMS 



By 

JOHN RUSKIN 




LONDON 

GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS, Limited 
New York: E. P. DUTTON & CO 



525% 

Ai 

I907 
614854 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Agonia 204 

Alps, The 237 

Aristodemus at Plat.ea 59 

Arve at Cluse, The 240 

Avalanche, The 3 

Battle of Montenotte, The 220 

Broken Chain, The 113 

Canzonet 82 

Canzonet 86 

Charitie 217 

Christ Church, Oxford 42 

Departed Light, The 202 

Ehrenbreitstein 6 

Emigration of the Sprites, The ... 10 

Exile of St. Helena, The 44 

Farewell 189 

Fragment from a Meteorological Journal 84 
v 



vi COX TEXTS 

PAGE 

Gipsies, The 21 

Glacier, The 243 

Good-Night 16 

Hills of Carrara, The 214 

Horace : — ' Iter ad Brundusium ' . . .77 

La Madonna Dell' Acqua 232 

Last Smile, The 20 

Last Song of Arion, The 205 

Memory 78 

Mirror, The 87 

Mont Blanc 241 

Mont Blanc .Revisited 238 

Months, The 18 

Name, The 79 

Old Seaman, The 234 

Old Water-Wheel, The 187 

On Adele, by Moonlight 17 

Recreant, The 56 

Remembrance 40 

Salsette and Elephanta 62 

Scythian Banquet Song, A 91 



CONTEXTS v 

PAGE 

Scythian Grave, The 37 

Scythian Guest, The 105 

Song 1 

Song . 36 

Song 73 

Song 75 

Song of the Tyrolese after the Battle 

of Brixen 89 

Tears of Psammenitus, The 177 

To Adele 173 

Two Paths, The 185 

Walk in Chamouni, A 228 

Wreck, The 58 

Written Among the Basses Alpes . . 242 



SONG 

(age 14) 

I weary for the torrent leaping 
From off the scar's rough crest ; 
My muse is on the mountain sleeping, 
My harp is sunk to rest. 

I weary for the fountain foaming, 
For shady holm and hill ; 
My mind is on the mountain roaming, 
My spirit's voice is still. 

I weary for the woodland brook 
That wanders through the vale ; 
I weary for the heights that look 
Adown upon the dale. 

The crags are lone on Coniston, 
And Loweswater's dell ; 
And dreary on the mighty one, 
The cloud-enwreathed Sea-fell. 

Oh ! what although the crags be stern 
Their mighty peaks that sever, 
Fresh flies the breeze on mountain fern, 
And free on mountain heather. 

B 



SONG 

I long to tread the mountain head 
Above the valley swelling ; 
I long to feel the breezes sped 
From grey and gaunt Helvellyn. 

I love the eddying, circling sweep, 
The mantling and the foam 
Of murmuring waters dark and deep. 
Amid the valleys lone. 

It is a terror, yet 'tis sweet, 
Upon some broken brow 
To look upon the distant sweep 
Of ocean spread below. 

There is a thrill of strange delight 
That passes quivering o'er me, 
"When blue hills rise upon the sight 
Like summer clouds before me. 



THE AVALANCHE 

(age i 6) 

The accident to which these lines allude occurred in 
the year 1822. Several guides, with Dr Hamel, a Rus- 
sian and an Englishman, were ascending the Mont 
Blanc ; when they had crossed the plain of ice above the 
Glacier of Bossons, an avalanche descended from the 
Calotte of Mont Blanc, which swept away several of the 
guides, two of whom were irrecoverably lost. 



They went away at break of day, 
And brave hearts were about them, 
Who led them on, but at the grey 
Of eve returned without them. 



They're watched from yonder lowly spot 
By many an anxious eye ; 
Hearts that forebode they know not what, 
And fear, they know not why. 



' Why left ye, lone upon the steep, 
My child ? ' the widow said : — 
' We cannot speak to those who sleep ; 
We dwell not with the dead.' 



THE AVALANCHE 

IV 

' Why comes not with you from the hill 
My husband ? ' said the bride : — 
Alas I his limbs are cold and still 
Upon the mountain-side. 



His boy, in undefined fright, 
Stood shivering at her knee ; 
' The wind is cold, the moon is white, 
Where can my father be ? ' 



VI 

That night, through mourning Chamouni, 
Shone many a midnight beam ; 
And grieving voices wander by 
The murmur of the stream. 



VII 

They come not yet, they come not yet ! 
The snows are deep above them, 
Deep, very deep ; they cannot meet 
The kiss of these who love them. 

VIII 

Ye avalanches, roar not loud 

Upon the dreary hill : 

Ye snows, spread light their mountain shroud 

Ye tempests, peace, be still ! 



THE AVALANCHE 



For there are those who cannot weep — 
"Who cannot smile — who will not sleep, 
Lest, through the midnight's lonely gloom 1 , 
The dead should rift their mountain-tomb, 
With haggard look and fearful air, 
To come and ask a sepulchre, 

1 This is a superstition very prevalent among the Swiss. 



EHRENBREITSTEIN 

(age 14) 

Oh ! warmly down the sunbeams fell 

Along the broad and fierce Moselle ; 

And on the distant mountain ridge, 

And on the city and the bridge, 

So beautiful that stood. 

Tall tower and spire, and gloomy port 

Were made and shattered in the sport 

Of that impetuous flood, 

That, on the one side, washed the wall 

Of Gothic mansion fair and tall ; 

And, on the other side, was seen, 

Checked by broad meadows rich and green 

And scattering spray that sparkling flew, 

And fed the grass with constant dew. 

With broader stream and mightier wrath, 

The Rhine had chosen bolder path, 

AU yielding to his forceful will ; 

Through basalt gorge, and rock ribbed hill, 

StiU flashed his deep right on. 

It checked not at the battled pride, 

Where Ehrenbreitstein walled his side ; 

Stretching across with giant stride, 

The mighty waves the rock deride, 

And on the crag, like armies, ride ; 

Flinging the white foam far and wide, 



EHRENBREITSTEIN 

Upon the rough grey stone. 
Beneath the brow of yon dark fell 
Join the two brothers ; the Moselle, 
Greeting the Rhine in friendly guise, 
To mingle with his current flies. 
Together down the rivers go, 
Resistless o'er their rocky foe, 
As lovers, joining hand in hand ; 
Towards the west, beside their strand 
They pass together playfully, 
Like allied armies' mingled band : 
Towards the east white whirls of sand 
The torrent tosses by. 

The morning came, and rosy light 

Blushed on the bastions and the height. 

Where traitor never stood ; 

While, far beneath in misty night, 

The waters wheeled their sullen flight, 

Till o'er them far, for many a rood, 

The red sun scattered tinge of blood ; 

Then, broadening into brighter day, 

On the rich plain the lustre lay ; 

And distant spire and village white 

Confessed the kiss of dawn, 

Amid the forests shining bright, 

Still multiplying on the sight, 

As sunnier grew the morn. 

We climbed the crag, we scaled the ridg( 

On Coblentz looked adown ; 

The tall red roofs, the long white bridge, 

And on the eye-like frown 

Of the portals of her palaces, 

And on her people's busy press. 

There never was a fairer town, 



8 EHREXBREITSTEIX 

Between two rivers as it lay, 

Whence morning mist was curling grey 

On the plain's edge beside the hill. 

Oh ! it was lying calm and still 

In morning's chastened glow : 

The multitudes were thronging by, 

But we were dizzily on high, 

And we might not one murmur hear 

Xor whisper tingling on the ear, 

From the far depth below. 

The bridge of boats, the bridge of boats — 

Across the swift tide how it floats 

In one dark bending line ! 

For other bridge were swept away ; 

Such shackle loveth not the play 

Of the impetuous Rhine ; 

The feeble bridge that bends below 

The tread of one weak man, — 

It yet can stem the forceful flow, 

Which nought unyielding can. 

The bar of shingle stems the sea, 

The granite cliffs are worn away ; 

The bending reed can bear the blast, 

When English oak were downward cast ; 

The bridge of boats the Rhine can chain 

Where strength of stone were all in vain. 

Oh ! fast and faster on the stream 

An island driveth down ; 

The Schwartzwald pine hath shed its green 

But not at Autumn's frown ; 

A sharper winter stripped them there — 

The tall, straight trunks are bald and bare : 

The peasant, on some Alpine brow, 

Hath cut the root and lopped the bough ; 



EHRENBREITSTEIN s 

The eagle heard the echoing fall, 

And soared away to his high eyrie ; 

The chamois gave his warning call, 

And higher on the mountain tall 

Pursued his way unweary. 

They come, they come — the long pine floats ! — 

Unchain the bridge, throw loose the boats, 

Lest, by the raft so rudely driven, 

The iron bolts be burst and riven ! 

They come, they come, careering fast ! 

The bridge is gained, the bridge is past, 

Before the flashing foam they flee, 

Towards the ocean rapidly ; 

There, firmly bound by builder's care, 

The rage of wave and wind to dare, 

Or burst of battle-shock to bear, 

Upon the boundless sea. 



THE EMIGRATION OF THE SPRITES 
(age i 6) 



There was a time, in Anglo-land, 
When goblin grim and fairy fair, 
On earth, in water, and in air, 
Held undisturbed command. 
Ye hills and groves ! lament, in grief- 
Lament, and say, woe worth the day, 
"When innovating disbelief 
First drove the friendly sprites away 
Then was there not a forest leaf 
Without attendant elfin grey, 
That sat to make the leaflet shake, 
Whene'er the breezes chose to wake. 



There was not, then, a forest lawn 
Where fairy ringlet was not made, 
Before, through the surrounding shade, 
The slanting sun bespoke the dawn. 
There was no knoll beneath an oak 
Where was not found, bestrewed around, 



THE EMIGRATION OF THE SPRITES n 

By woodman's child (from slumber woke 
By singing birds' delightful sound) 
Pink tops, from mushroom tables broke, 
And acorn cups upon the ground, 
From which so fine, when fairies dine, 
They alwavs drink their dewv wine. 



There was no fell on misty mountain, 
Beneath those darkling cliffs, at night, 
There brooded not some shadowy sprite 
There was no swiftly flowing fountain 
Without a spirit to preside ; 
And, on the moor, and by the fen, 
The kelpie by the water-side, 
(The bane of all wayfaring men) 
Shook his bright torch, a faithless guide 
The brownie wandered in the glen, 
Or stalked upon the hill-top high, 
Gigantic on the evening sky. 



The shepherd, in an ecstasy, 
Ud earthly voices seemed to hear ; 
Prophetic forms perceived, with fear, 
To pass before his dreaming eye : 
Perhaps beheld, at close of day, 
With melancholy air beside him, 
Those who, he knew, were far away : 
Or long procession slowly gliding, 
Or voice of battle's bursting bray, 
Or troops upon the mountain riding ; 
And started back, nd feared to see 
A visible futurity. 



12 THE EMIGRATION OF THE SPRITES 



It was upon a starry night, 

When winds were calm, and all around still, 

The world of spirits called a council, 

And every incorporeal wight 

Came there his brother ghosts to greet : — 

Some shoot, like falling stars, through heaven 

Some, like the Northern meteors, meet ; 

Some ride the clouds by tempests driven ; 

Some yoke the lightning's blazing sheet 

Bv which the mountain-tops are riven ; 

Some came veiled in vapours well, 

Some voiceless and invisible. 



A fairy, from the crowd advancing, 
First in the conclave silence broke ; 
' Because these mortals ' (thus he spoke) 
' Are far too blind to see us dancing, 
They think, forsooth ! we never do. 
Because we're of aethereal kind, 
Formed out of mist and fed with dew, 
Invisible as summer wind, 
The blundering, earth-polluted crew 
All faith in us have quite resigned. 
Fairies (if we could cross the sea) 
Are more revered in Germanv.' 



He spoke : the fairies sitting round 
Cried ' hear ! ' Along the voice did pass, 
And shook the dew upon the grass ; 
And the gnat hummed in with the sound. 



THE EMIGRATION OF THE SPRITES 13 

A brownie next arose and spoke 
(A Bodsbeck resident of yore), 
Uncouth his form and stern his look, 
And thus inveighed he : ' Now no more 
For me, behind the chimney-nook, 
The bowl of milk stands creaming o'er ; 
No more upon the board I see 
Some dainty morsel left for me. 



' A certain shepherd, wont by night 
To watch his flocks on Ettrick braes, 
And who has sung a hundred lays, 
Inspired by every mountain sprite — 
Who well my old achievements knew, 
Began to tell some pranks that I did ; 
But, when his tale was half-way through, 
Paused in the story undecided, 
Fearing that few would think it true, 
And that the public would deride it. 
He stopped, for fear of jest or banter, 
And changed me to a Covenanter.' 



With waving plume of rushing flame, 
A kelpie, leaping from his seat, 
Thus to the council spoke : ' Is't meet 
That now no more the kelpie's name 
Is named on any moorland stream ? 
These mortals say, and think they're wise, 
That my existence is a dream ; 
And call my fickle fire, that flies 
O'er every fen with brilliant beam, 



14 THE EMIGRATION OF THE SPRITES 

Gases that from the waters rise ; 

And now, because such stuff gets credit, 

I'm never followed, seldom dreaded.' 



A travelled goblin next arose ; 

In foreign countries had been he, 

Who thus addressed the company : 

' Where Rhine beneath his castles flows, 

Full many a fairy train I met ; 

Dancing beneath some ruined tower 

Upon a basalt summit set ; 

Or singing in a blossomed bower, 

Or swinging in a spider's net ; 

And many a ghost, at evening hour ; 

The peasants (an unpolished race) 

Reverence the spirits of the place. 



' So let us flit to yonder strand ; 

Indeed you'll find it more amusing 

Than to hear English boors abusing 

The spirits of their native land.' 

Then from his seat each goblin bounded, 

And each his mode of carriage chose ; 

Wide murmurs through the forest sounded, 

When th' incorporeal conclave rose. 

Some whipped away, with speed unbounded, 

In the red leaflets of the rose ; 

And some chose bats and gnats to fly on, 

Or mounted down of dandelion. 



THE EMIGRATION OF THE SPRITES 15 

XII 

And, when they came where rolled the Rhine, 

Whose mountain scenery much delighted them, 

The native fairies all invited them, 

On top of Drachenfels to dine. 

And when the stars rode magnified 

Above the steeples of Cologne, 

And light along the river-side 

From every cottage window shone ; 

They hovered o'er the gloomy tide, 

Or sate upon the topmost stone 

Of some old Roman tower, and there 

Still do they haunt the mountain air. 



Deserted England ! now no more 

Inspiring spirits haunt thy hills ; 

Xor spiritual being fills 

Thy mountain aether as of yore. 

Xo more shall fancy find its food 

In torrent's song or tempest's roar ; 

Or hear a voice in solitude, 

On hill and dale, by sea or shore. 

Xo more shall Scotland's peasant rude 

Recount his legendary lore ; 

The soul of Poesie is fled, 

And Fancv's sacred fire is dead. 



GOOD-NIGHT 

(AGE 17) 

She lays her down in beauty's light — 

Oh, peaceful may her slumbers be ! 

She cannot bear my breathed ' Good Night ', 

I cannot send it o'er the sea ; 

And though my thoughts be fleet and free 

To fly to her with speed excelling, 

They cannot speak — she cannot see — 

Those constant thoughts around her dwelling. 

Thou planet pale, thou plaintive star ! 
Adown whose light the dew comes weeping ; 
Thou shinest faint, but wondrous far ; 
Oh ! surely thou behold'st her sleeping. 
And though her eye thou canst not see 
Beneath its arched fringes shrouded, 
Thou pallid star ! 'tis well for thee 
That such a lustre is beclouded. 

Oh ! haste thee, then, thy rays are fleet, 

And be thou, through her casement gleaming, 

A starlight in her slumber sweet, 

An influence of delightful dreaming. 

Oh ! is there no kind breeze to swell 

Along thy silent looks of light, 

And at her slumb'rous ear to tell 

Who sent thee there to say ' Good Night ? ' 



OX ADELE, BY MOONLIGHT 

(age i 6) 

With what a glory and a grace 

The moonbeam lights her laughing face, 

And dances in her dazzling eye ; 

As liquid in its brilliancy 

As the deep blue of midnight ocean, 

When underneath, with trembling motion, 

The phosphor light floats by ! 

And blushes bright pass o'er her cheek, 
But pure and pale as is the glow 
Of sunset on a mountain peak, 
Robed in eternal snow ; 
Her ruby lips half oped the while, 
With careless air around her throwing, 
Or, with a vivid glance, bestowing 
A burning word, or silver smile. 



IT 



THE MONTHS 

(AGE 15) 



From your high dwellings in the realms of snow 

And cloud, where many an avalanche's fall 
Is heard resounding from the mountain's brow, 

Come, ye cold winds ! at January's call, 
On whistling wings ; and with white flakes bestrew 

The earth, till February's reign restore 
The race of torrents to their wonted flow, 

Whose waves shall stand in silent ice no more ; 
But, lashed by March's maddened winds, shall roar 
With voice of ire, and beat the rocks on ever)- shore. 



Bow down your heads, ye flowers ! in gentle guise, 

Before the dewy rain that April sheds, 
Whose sun shines through her clouds with quick 
surprise, 

Shedding soft influences on your heads ; 
And wreathe ye round the rosy month that flies 

To scatter perfumes on the path of June : 
Till July's sun upon the mountains rise 

Triumphant, and the wan and weary moon 
Mingle her cold beams with the burning lume 
That Sirius shoots through all the dreary midnight 
gloom. 



THE MONTHS 19 

in 

Rejoice ! ye fields, rejoice ! and wave with gold, 

When August round her precious gifts is flinging. 
Lo ! the crushed wain is slowly homeward rolled ; 

The sunburnt reapers jocund lays are singing : 
September's steps her juicy stores unfold, 

If the Spring blossoms have not blushed in vain : 
October's foliage yellows with his cold : 

In rattling showers dark November's rain, 
From every stormy cloud, descends amain, 
Till keen December's snows close up the year again. 



THE LAST SMILE 

(age i 6) 

She sat beside me yesternight, 

With lip and eye so sweetly smiling, 
So full of soul, of life, of light, 
So beautifully care-beguiling, 
That she had almost made me gay, 
Had almost charmed the thought away 
(Which, like the poisoned desert wind, 
Came sick and heavy o'er my mind), 
That memory soon mine all would be, 
And she would smile no more for me. 



THE GIPSIES 

(age 17-18) 

Vitamque sub divo, et trepidis agant 
In rebus. — Hor., Carm., Lib. iii, Od. 2, line 6. 

'Twas in the hollow of a forest dim, 

Where the low breezes sang their evening hymn, 

As in a temple by thick branches aisled, 

Whose leaves had many voices, weak or wild ; 

Their summer voice was like the trooping tread 

Of fiery steeds, to meteor battle bred ; 

Their autumn voice was like the wailing cry 

Of a great nation, bowed in miser y ; 

The deep vast silence of the winter's wood 

Was like the hush of a dead multitude. 

And, in the centre of its summer shade, 

Opened a narrow space of velvet glade, 

Where sunbeams, through the foliage slanting steep, 

Lay, like a smile upon the lips of sleep. 

And dew, that thrilled the flowers with full delight, 

Fell from the soft eyes of the heaven by night ; 

And richly there the panting earth put on 

A wreathed robe of blossoms wild and wan : 

The purple pansies glowed beneath unseen 1 , 

Like voiceless thoughts within a mind serene ; 

The passioned primrose blessing the morning gale, 

And starry lilies shook in their pavilions pale. 

1 Not intended to allude to the allegorical use of this flower made 
by Ophelia in Hamlet, and Perdita in The Winter's Tale. 
21 



22 THE GIPSIES 

'Twas there, when through the twilight, calm and 

cool, 
The musing sages of the village school 
Sought the bright berry, or the savoury root, 
Or plucked the hazel's triply clustered fruit, 
Or climbed the crackling'branch, with dangerous toil, 
To seek the songster's nest.and seize its spotted spoil ; 
When emerald light, through tangled leafage seen, 
Betrayed them near that glade so gaily green, 
With stealthy step, their slow approach to hide, 
The urchins bent the bramble boughs aside ; 
For often there the copse could scarce conceal 
The blue smoke curling from the evening meal 
(To furnish forth that feast, so soon prepared, 
Some village dame laments her rifled yard ; 
Some village cock, his pride of plumage o'er, 
Shall call around his clucking dames no more), 
While round the gleaming fire, in circle rude, 
The outcast tribe consumed the unblessed food, 
While dark eyes flashed, bold, beautiful, and wild, 
Through raven hair, and in their lightning smiled, 
To hear some Gipsy knight recount, with pride, 
How he had borne him at the beadle's side 
In manner worthy of his father's fame ; 
Had foiled the justice, and had robbed his dame ; 
Had risked all danger, and escaped mischance ; — 
Impudence armed with knavery for his lance. 
While, half-retired, arrayed in Gipsy state, 
An elder crone in musing silence sate. 
Well were her murmured words, and mystic tone, 
\nd piercing glance to village maidens known ; 
Well was she skilled, beneath the breathing brow, 
To read the thoughts and trace the feelings' flow ; 
And, by the dial of the face, to find 
The moving shadows of the secret mind. 



THE GIPSIES 23 

The wondering rustics disavowed their fears, 
Yet heard her mystic words with anxious ears ; 
Smiled if she passed their doors with blessing by, 
And feared the presage of her angered eye. 
Sceptics there were, whose more enlightened sense 
Refused to own a Gipsy's influence ; 
Who shook their heads, and called the peasants 

fools — 
Nay ! talked of vagrants and of ducking-stools ! 
But these, the learned village doctors, shook 
Before her darkened or contemptuous look ; 
Their reason quailed, and logic's self gave ground, 
And sages shuddered if the Gipsy frowned. 

But younger minds, less wise, but far more pure, 
Hung with full faith upon her words obscure ; 
Intent they listened, for experience knew 
Their import secret, and their presage true. 
For well the sibyl measured, and designed 
The future fortune by the present mind ; 
And, to her prescient eye, the youthful mien 
Betrayed the tints of manhood's varied scene. 
Strangely she used the power her art possessed 
To stamp the ductile gold of boyhood's breast : 
She fired the humble, and the proud controlled, 
Xow roused the fearful, now repressed the bold. 
Well pleased, the ardent boy — whose youthful might, 
First in the game, and unsubdued in fight, 
Flushes his cheek, when others pause and pale, 
And crowns him leader where his comrades quail — 
Hears of his fame in future storms of war, 
Purchased with many an honourable scar. 
Deceitful words ! that give strange passions birth, 
As winds of spring arouse the throbbing earth : 
Forth from his startled spirit, fierce and free, 



24 THE GIPSIES 

The quick thoughts leap, like fire beneath the sea ; 

And purple pinioned visions wake, and wind 

Their golden hair around his dazzled mind, 

And fill his senses with a rushing call, 

As of the trump to the war-festival : 

Round his thrilled heart the swift sensations swim — 

The burning pulses leap from limb to limb ; 

Kindles his ardent eye, his clenching hand 

Grasps, like a steely hilt, the hazel wand ; 

And firmly falls his slow determined tread, 

As haughty conquerors spurn the cold, dim-visaged 

dead. 
Woe for the youthful dream, which burning still, 
Fair hope may cherish, and dark fate fulfil ! 
Alas ! the mocking forms, that flit and fade 
Through early visions, in the purple shade — 
Ghastly, and dim discerned, and pointing pale 
To things concealed by hope's thick-dazzling veil. 
The desert breeze's pestilential breath ; 
The midnight field, bedropped with dewy death ; 
The mist, instinct with agony of life, 
Sobbed from the field of undistinguished strife ; 
The gnawing fetters, and the dungeon grey, 
The teeth of timeless hours, which, day by day, 
Feed on the dull heart's desolate decav ; 
The tears of hopeless grief, the inward groan, 
Of those whose love is lost — whose life is left alone. 

But the sage sibyl to the softer souled 

Another fate, a different fame, foretold : 

The gentle boy, who shunned his playmates rude, 

To seek the silver voice of solitude, 

And, by some stream, amidst the shadows grey 

Of arching boughs, to muse the hours away, 

Smiled, as her words, like gentle echoes, fell 



THE GIPSIES 25 

Of the high hope with which the secret cell 

Of his own heart was lightened ; which had led 

His young imaginations up, and fed 

His thoughts with pleasant fire. Yet who shall 

know 
What lowly lot of unremembered woe 
May quench that hope and aspiration high, 
In the deep waves of darkened destiny ? 
What fate unblessed by any mourner's tear, 
May crown the hope, may close the brief career ? 
A few short years, slow withering as they move, 
Traversed by burning thoughts ; a light of love 
Smiling at its own sorrow, fancy fed ; 
A heart to its own desolation dead ; 
Pale osier withes, in decent order bound ; 
And a soft smile of flowers along a low green mound. 

But when the woods were veiled with twilight shade, 
Came fearful feet along the velvet glade, 
Light as the tinkling leaves, that wander wide 
When Vallombrosa mourns her prostrate pride. 
With fitful fall, as throbbed the gentle breast, 
Whose hope excited, and whose awe repressed. 
Then, nearer drawn, like white-robed dryad seen, 
The blushes gleaming through the leafage green ; 
The village maiden came, and, bright with youth, 
Gave the white hand, and sought the words of sooth. 
The keen-eyed sibyl traced each crimson fine, 
As pale and passive lay the fingers fine ; 
And watched the orient blood, with flushing flow, 
By turns enkindle, and forget to glow ; 
The eyes, averted to her glance severe. 
Betrayed their flashing hope or quivering fear ; 
She saw, and speaking, wove, with cruel art, 
Soft silver meshes round the vouthful heart, 



26 THE GIPSIES 

And touched its core with lightning thoughts, in 

vain ; 
Played with its passion, sported with its pain. 
Oh ! cruel words, to rouse emotions there 
Whose voice is rapture, but whose end — despair ; 
That suck the blood, yet fan, with vampyre wing, 
The heart, until it bless the agony they bring. 
For, sibyl, thine no transitory power, 
No passing voice, no mockery of an hour. 
Thou canst not know how dearly may be bought 
That moment's kindling of the girlish thought, 
Of midnight wakings, and day-dreams, and years 
Of sickened hope, and unavailing tears. 

Such the poor remnant of the faith that seemed 
To read the roll of destinies it dreamed. 
Small triumph now, for that once lofty art 
To thrill a youth's, or break a maiden's heart ; 
Or raise, by happy chance or artful wile, 
The peasant's wonder or the sage's smile ! 
Its higher influence lost, for now no more 
Shall monarchs own the presage as of yore 1 ; 
When on some mountain's moon-illumined height, 
The Eastern shepherd watched the moving night 2 
(That soul-like night, whose melancholy smile 
Looks lovely down on every Eastern isle), 
Distinguishing the stars, that, charged with doom, 
Passed on and upward through the glorious gloom. 
Ye fiery-footed spirits ! that do use 
To tread the midnight darkness, and confuse 
All aether with your shooting, and intrace, 

1 As in the time of Catherine of Medici, and of Henry III and 
Henry IV of France. 

2 Astrology — certainly a science derived either from the Assyri- 
ans or Egyptians— appears to have been the only superstition 
believed in by the wandering tribes. 



THE GIPSIES 27 

With lines of rushing fire, the restless space 

Of silence infinite ; ye meteors pale ! 

Vapours and mists that burn, and float, and fail, 

For ever and for ever, and which bless 

The gloom of the unbounded loneliness 

Of the wild void with your swift passing on ; 

Ye tearful stars, and planets weak and wan ! — 

Meet gods, methinks, were ye for those whose breast 

Was but one weariness without a rest ; 

Whose life was desolation, and whose soul, 

Hopeless and homeless, knew no soft control 

From the sweet chains that other beings bind, 

The love of God or man — of country or of kind. 

Along the reedy shore of Nilus' flood 

Dark Egypt bows before her monster god ; 

And meeting millions, mute with awe, uplift 

The temple tall above the sand-waves swift ; 

And mourn their prayers unheard with lengthened 

wail, 
Led by the measured voice of many a priestess pale. 
By Ganges' sullen billows, blood besprent, 
Bereaved mothers lift their loud lament ; 
Amidst the desert place of mountains grey, 
The sculptured idols sit in rude array. 
Through many a sombre isle and mighty fane 
The prostrate crowds revere, adore, in vain ; 
And wake the silent shore and sacred wave 
With notes of worship wild within the carved cave. 

But, 'midst the wandering tribe, no reverenced 

shrine 
Attests a knowledge of the Power Divine. 
By these alone, of mortals most forlorn, 
Are priest and pageant met with only scorn ; 



28 THE GIPSIES 

To all mankind beside, through earth and sky, 

Is breathed an influence of Deity. 

To that great One, whose Spirit interweaves 

The pathless forests with their life of leaves ; 

And lifts the lowly blossoms, bright in birth, 

Out of the cold, black, rotting, charnel earth ; 

Walks on the moon-bewildered waves by night, 

Breathes in the morning breeze, burns in the even- 
ing light ; 

Feeds the young ravens when they cry ; uplifts 

The pale-lipped clouds along the mountain cliffs ; 

Moves the pale glacier on its restless path ; 

Lives in the desert's universal death ; 

And fills, with that one glance, which none elude, 

The grave, the city, and the solitude. 

To This, the mingled tribes of men below, 

Savage and sage, by common instinct bow ; 

And, by one impulse, all the earth abroad, 

Or carve the idol or adore the god : 

But these, the earth's wide wanderers, mocked of 
fate — 

These, the most impious, most desolate, 

Careless of unseen power or semblant stone — 

Live in this lost and lifeless world alone. 

Oh, life most like to death ! No mother mild 
Lifts the light fingers of her dark-eyed child 
In early offered prayer ; no loving one 
Curtains the cradle round with midnight orison ; 
Xor guides, to form the Mighty Name, the slips 
And early murmurs of unconscious lips. 
No reverend sire, with tales of heavenly truth, 
Instructs the awed, attentive ear of youth. 
Through life's short span, whatever chance betide, 
No hope can joy, no fear can guard or guide ; 



THE GIPSIES 29 

Ho trust supports in danger or despair ; 

Grief hath no solace, agony no prayer. 

The lost are lost for ever, and the grave 

Is as a darkness deep, whence none can save 

The loved or the lamented, as they fade, 

Like dreams at dawn, into that fearful shade. 

Oh ! then what words are they whose peaceful 
power 

Can soothe the twilight time of terror's hour ; 

Or check the frighted gasp of fainting breath ; 

Or clothe with calmness the cold lips of death ; 

Or quench the fire within the phrenzied eye, 

When it first dreams the dreams that never die ? 

O Grave, how fearful is thy victory ! 

O Death, how dread thy sting, when not to be 

Is the last hope whose coldness can control 

The meteor fires that mock and sear the soul ; 

When through the deep delirium's darkness red 

Come thoughts, that join the living with the dead 

Fancies too fearful to be dreams alone, 

And forms which Madness knows are not her own— 

Which even annihilation cannot quell — 

The fire of vengeance, and the fear of hell. 

Such death is death indeed, which nor bestows 

Peace on the soul, nor on the clay repose. 

For these, no grave is pale with blossoms round ; 

No hallowed home, in consecrated ground, 

Opens its narrow arms, and bosom cold, 

To soothe their sleep beneath the moveless mould 

No whispered prayer, no sacred service said, 

Bequeaths to dust the deeply reverenced dead : 

No mossy stone, when other memories cease, 

Shall keep his name, or mark his place of peace. 

With his (although the churchyard room be wide) 



30 THE GIPSIES 

No dust shall mingle, none shall sleep beside ; 
Unwept, unknown, he lies : the outcast band, 
To whom the world is all a foreign land, 
Remembered not the graves their fathers own, 
But pass away, and leave their lost alone. 



The wandering ostrich marks her place of rest ; 
The lonely mountain eagle knows her nest ; 
The sobbing swiftness of the faint gazelle 
Longs for her refuge green — her living well ; 
The many wandering tribes of weary wing 
All have their home, their rest, their welcoming ; 
The lonely Indian, when his dark canoe 
Glides o'er the sea and sleeps upon the blue, 
Faints for the foliage of his native isle, 
To break the sea's ' innumerable smile '* ,* 
When through the deserts, far from haunts of man, 
Winds, with slow pace, the panting caravan ; 
When, scorched and wean,-, move the mingled bands, 
O'er mocking vapours and deceitful sands, 
With keen and eager eye, the desert-bred 
Explores the waste horizon's dimness dead ; 
Through the thick heaven's bluely burning breath, 
Purple with pestilence and dark with death ; 
How thrills his aching heart, when, far and few, 
The clustered palm-trees meet his misty- view — 
The group of palm-trees tall, that grow beside 
The Arab village where his fathers died : 
He asks no gardens gay, no champaigns green, 
No milder clime, to fertilise the scene ; 
To him the desert rock, the palm-trees tall, 
The fountain pure, are home, and home is all. 

1 Avr)pi(>noi> ye'Aaa-fia. — JEsch. Prom. Vinct. 90. 



THE GIPSIES 31 

The mountaineer, returning from afar, 

Sees in the dim cloud, like a guiding star, 

The peak, with everlasting winter pale, 

Whose base is bordered by his native vale : 

Scents the keen air which nerved his childish limb ; 

And o'er his swelling spirit comes a hymn 

Of gladness and rejoicing — soft and low 

The voices of the hours of long ago. 

What boots it that the rocks around be rude, 

And dark the countenance of solitude ? 

How dear is desolation, where have dwelt 

The feelings we have yearned for, long unfelt ! 

How loved the accents of departed years, 

That fill the heart with ecstasy of tears ; 

That touch, and try, and wake, with pleasant pain. 

The chords we thought would never wake again ! 

Those only know, through lengthened years who 

roam, 
How blest the native land, how beautiful the home. 
Woe for the lot of that abandoned race, 
For whom the wide earth hath no dwelling-place ; 
The doomed, with weary breast and restless feet, 
No bourne to reach, no welcoming to mc 
Alas ! the very winds and waves had res 
Far in the purple silence of the West, 
That now lament, along a colder coast, 
The home of heaven, the sleep that they have lost, 
Hoping no peace : but those are more forlorn, 
Who, having none to hope, have none to mourn. 
To these, less blest than bird, or wave, or wind, 
All climes are strange, all countries are unkind 
Oh ! the deep silence of the lonely heart, 
When no known voices make it move or start, 
Until its numbed emotions faint, and he 
In an unwaking moveless agony — 



3a THE GIPSIES 

The peace of powerless pain — and waste away, 
Though the strong spirit struggle with decay, 
In yearning for the thoughts it hath not known ; 
As the deep sea, when it is left alone, 
Doth pine for agitation, and will rot 1 
Like corpses in the sleep that dreameth not ; 
So pines, so fades the spirit, when unmoved 
By any voice, remembered, known, or loved. 
Such pangs of silence in the hearts have birth 
Of those who have no fellowship on earth ; 
For whom waste wilds and desert skies extend 
Paths without peace, and wanderings without end ; 
Life without light, and death obscure with fear, 
The world without a home, the grave without a 
tear. 

Yet have they their inheritance — the force 

Of that high influence, which pursues its course 

Through breathing spirits, as an eagle cleaves 

The red clouds which the weak wind interweaves. 

Hast thou not watched the dark eye's changing light 

Flashing for ever through its living night, 

"Where the wild thoughts, deep, oh ! how strangely 

deep, 
Their passioned presence and soft motion keep ? 
There lightens forth the spirit visible, 
Which, from the mind's dark, narrow, clay-cold cell, 
Gives wings to the expatiation wide, 
Which is its light, its life, its being, and its pride. 
It is the universal soul that fills 
The airs and echoes of a thousand hills, 



1 The very deep did rot — 
That ever this should be — 
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs 
Upon the slimy sea — Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. 



THE GIPSIES 33 

And all the aethereal clouds, whose wings, unfurled^ 
Fan the swift sickness of the restless world, 
The green sea's ghastly waves above, beneath 
The sere leaves in their Autumn dance of death ; 
All things that move on earth are swift and free, 
All full of the same fire of lovely Liberty : 
This, this is their inheritance — the might 
That fills the tyrant's throne with fear, his night 
With dreams of desolation ; that unbinds 
The wrath of retribution in the minds 
Of those whom he has crushed ; and, from the hand 
Breaking the fetter, gives and guides the brand ; 
This is the birthright, which alone can be 
Their home, their hope, their joy, their trust, their 
deity. 

Ye abject tribes, ye nations poor and weak ! ' 
(Thus might, methinks, the haughty wanderer 

speak), 
' Yours be the life of peace, the servile toil ; 
Yours be the wealth, its despicable spoil ; 
Stoop to your tyrants' yoke with mildness meet, 
Cringe at his throne, and worship at his feet ; 
Revere your priesthood's consecrated guilt ; 
Bow in the temples that your dreams have built ; 
Adore your gods — the visionary plan 
Of dotards grey, in mockery of man : 
To me the life hath wildest welcoming, 
That fears nor man, nor spirit, priest, nor king. 
Be mine no simple home, no humble hearth, — 
My dome, the heaven — my dwelling, all the earth. 
No birth can bind me, in a nation's cause, 
To fight their battles, or obey their laws. 
The priest may speak, and women may grow pale ; 
Me he derides not with his ghastly tale ; 

D 



THE GIPSIES 

Virtue and vice, the names by which the wise 
Have governed others, I alike despise. 
Xo love can move me, and no fear can quell, 
Nor check my passions, nor control my will. 
The soul, whose body fears no change of clime, 
Aims at no virtue, trembles at no crime ; 
But, free and fearless as its clay, shall own 
No other will upon its fiery throne. 
When fate commands it, come the mortal strife ! 
I fear nor dying, nor an after life. 
Such as it hath been must my spirit be — 
Destroved, not shackled — if existent, free. 
Let not my limbs in weakened age consume, 
Nor pale diseases waste me to the tomb ; 
Let not the frost of winters in my blood 
Give to the grave a cold, corrupted food. 
Mine be the death of lightning swift and red, 
Born out of darkness, and in darkness dead : 
No other will the forked flash can guide, 
Nor tame the terror of its path of pride : 
Forth from its natal cloud it works its will- 
Then pauses in its power, and all is dark and still.' 

Such are the thoughts of Freedom, unrestrained ; 
Such is the good which men have felt, or feigned, 
To be the highest of all gifts that bless 
The mortal dwellers in this wilderness. 
Freedom — with which the heaven of Hellas burned, 
For which her warriors bled, her exiles mourned, 
Till, hke the rushing of a meteor's hair, 
Waved the wide banner through her purple air ; 
Freedom — the loved possession, which, when lost, 
Mvriads have sought along the lonely coast 
Where liberty is none — whence none return — 
Freedom — who kindles heavenly stars which burn 



THE GIPSIES 35 

Within the heart she loves, and hfts the brave 
Above the earthy thoughts that would their souls 

enslave, 
Becomes, if unrestrained, so deep a curse 
As nations should grow pale at ; never worse 
Hath worked the ruin of the kings of Time. 
It wakes the blackly-waving weeds of crime, 
Which, when the dark, deep surge of passion raves, 
Do turn and toss within its wildest waves. 
It is the standard whose dark folds unfurled 
Shade the red ruins of a wasted world ; 
It is the shout that Madness laughs to hear, 
When dark Rebellion grasps his gory spear, 
And sends his minions forth, who never cease 
From withering up all pity and all peace : 
Fearful as is the pestilence's path, 
And feeding, worm-like, on the nation's death, 
Which they have cast into the dark abysm 
Of guilty Freedom, worst of despotism. 

There's but one liberty of heart and soul, 

A thing of beauty, an unfelt control — 

A flow, as waters flow in solitude, 

Of gentle feeling, passioned, though subdued — 

When Love and Virtue and Religion join 

To weave their bonds of bhss, their chains divine, 

And keep the heaven-illumined heart they fill 

Softly communing with itself, and still 

In the sole freedom that can please the good, 

A mild and mental, unfelt servitude. 



SONG 

(age 16) 

Full broad and bright is the silver light 
Of moon and stars on flood and fell ; 

But in my breast is starless night, 
For I am come to say farewell ! 

How glad, how swift, was wont to be 

The step that bore me back to thee ! 

Now coldly comes upon my heart 

The meeting that is but to part. 

I do not ask a tear ; but while 

I linger where I must not stay, 
Oh ! give me but a parting smile, 

To light me on my lonely way ; 
To shine, a brilliant beacon star, 
To my reverted glance, afar, 
Through midnight, which can have no morrow, 
O'er the deep, silent surge of sorrow ! 



36 



THE SCYTHIAN GRAVE 

(AGE 18) 

The following stanzas refer to some verv elegant and 
affecting customs of the Scythians, as avouched bv 
Herodotus {Melpomene, 71), relative to the burial of then- 
kings 1, round whose tombs thev were wont to set up 
a troop of fifty skeleton scarecrows — armed corpses — 
in a manner very horrible, barbarous, and indecorous ; 
besides sending out of the world, to keep the king com- 
pany, numerous cup-bearers, grooms, lackevs, coachmen, 
and cooks ; all which singular, and, to the individuals 
concerned, somewhat objectionable proceedings, appear 
to have been the result of a feeling, pervading the whole 
nation, of the poetical and picturesque. 



They laid the lord 

Of all the land 
Within his grave of pride ; 

They set the sword 

Beside the hand 
That could not grasp, nor guide : 
They left, to soothe and share his rest 

Beneath the moveless mould, 
A lady, bright as those that live, 

But oh, how calm and cold ! 

1 These are the kings to whom the prophecies n? the Old Testament 
reier : They shall go down to the grave with their weapons of 
war. though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the 

37 



3* THE SCYTHIAX GRAVE 

They left, to keep due watch and ward, 
Thick vassals round their slumbering lord, 
Ranged in menial order all — 
They may hear, when he can call. 



ii 



They built a mound 

Above the breast 
Whose haughty heart was still ; 

Each stormy sound 

That wakes the west, 
Howls o'er that lonely hill. 
Underneath, an armed troop 

In stalwart order stay : 
Flank to flank they stand, nor stoop 

Their lances, day by day. 
Round the dim sepulchral cliff, 
Horsemen fifty, fixed and stiff — 
Each with his bow, and each with his brand, 
With his bridle grasped in his steadfast hand 



The soul of sleep 

May dim the brow, 
And check the soldier's tread ; 

But who can keep 

A guard so true, 
As do the dark-eyed dead ? 
The foul hyenas howl and haunt 

About their charnel lair ; 
The flickering rags of flesh — they flaunt 

Within the plague-struck air : 



THE SCYTHIAX GRAVE 39 

But still the skulls do gaze and grin 

Though the worms have gnawed the ner%es 

within ; . 

And the jointed toes, and the neshless hee 
Clatter and clank in their stirrup of steel. 



The snows are swift 

That glide so pale 
Along the mountain dim ; 

Beneath their drift 

Shall rust the mail, 
And blanch the nerveless limb : 
While shower on shower, and wreath on wreatn, 

From vapours thunder-scarred \ 
Surround the misty mound of death 

And whelm its ghastly guard ; 
Till those who held the earth in fear, 
Lie meek, and mild, and powerless here, 
Without a single sworded slave 
To keep their name, or guard their grave. 

1 It is one of the peculiarities of the climate, according to Herodo- 
tus tnat it thunders in the winter, not in the summer. 



REMEMBRANCE 

(AGE 1 8) 

I ought to be joyful ; the jest and the song 
And the light tones of music resound through the 

throng ; 
But its cadence falls dully and dead on my ear, 
And the laugther I mimic is quenched in a tear. 

For here are no longer, to bid me rejoice, 
The light of thy smile, or the tone of thy voice, 
And, gay though the crowd that's around me may be, 
I am alone, Adele, parted from thee. 

Alone, said I, dearest ? Oh, never we part — 
For ever, for ever, thou'rt here in my heart ; 
Sleeping or waking, where'er I may be, 
I have but one thought, and that thought is of thee. 

When the planets roll red through the darkness of 

night, 
When the morning bedews all the landscape with 

light, 
When the high sun of noon-day is warm on the hill, 
And the breezes are quiet, the green leafage still ; 

I love to look out o'er the earth and the sky, 
For Nature is kind, and seems lonely as I ; 
Whatever in Nature most lovely I see, 
Has a voice that recalls the remembrance of thee. 



REMEMBRANCE 4* 

Remember — remember : — those only can know 
How dear is remembrance, whose hope is laid low ; 
'Tis like clouds in the west, that are gorgeous still, 
When the dank dews of evening fall deadly and chill ; 

Like the bow in the cloud that is painted so bright — 
Like the voice of the nightingale, heard through the 

night, 
Oh ! sweet is remembrance, most sad though it be, 
For remembrance is all that remaineth for me. 



CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD 

(age i 8) 

NIGHT 

Faint from the bell the ghastly echoes fall, 

That grates within the grey cathedral tower- 
Let me not enter through the portal tall, 

Lest the strange spirit of the moonless hour 
Should give a life to those pale people, who 
Lie in their fretted niches, two and two — 
Each with his head on pillowy stone reposed, 
And his hands lifted, and his eyelids closed. 

A cold and starless vapour, through the night, 

Moves as the paleness of corruption passes 
Over a corpse's features, like a light 

That half illumines what it most effaces ; 
The calm round water gazes on the sky, 
Like the reflection of the lifeless eye 
Of one who sleeps and dreams of being slain, 
Struggling in frozen frenzy, and in vain. 

From many a mouldering oriel, as to flout 
Its pale, grave brow of ivy-tressed stone, 
Comes the incongruous laugh, and revel shout- 
Above, some solitary casement, thrown 
Wide open to the wavering night wind, 
Admits its chill — so deathful, yet so kind 
Unto the fevered brow and fiery eye 
Of one, whose night hour passeth sleeplessly. 



CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD 43 

Ye melancholy chambers ! I could shun 

The darkness of your silence, with such fear, 
As places where slow murder had been done. 

How many noble spirits have died here, 
Withering away in yearnings to aspire, 
Gnawed bv mocked hope — devoured bv their own 

hre'l 
Methinks the grave must feel a colder bed 
To spirits such as these, than unto common dead. 



THE EXILE OF ST HELENA 

(age 18-19) 

' How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war 
perished ! ' — 2 Samuel, i, 27 

r fl d : .os aidrjp kcli Taxvirrepot irvoa.1, 

ttovt'iwv re kv/x&tu)j> 

avr/pid/jLOv yeXaafxa, TraiMarJTop re 777, 

tcai tov iravoTTT-qv kvkXov rj\iov kcl\u)' 

depx^yO' o'iais aiidai<riv 

81a.Kva.16u.evos tov /xvpieTrj 

Xpovov a9\evau. 

[.^schylus, Prometheus Vinctus, 88-95.] 

SYNOPSIS 

Introduction*. Graves of Achilles and Napoleon — Com- 
parison of the fates of Sennacherib, Alexander, and 
Hannibal with that of Napoleon — Circumstances 
of his fall slightly touched upon — Campaigns — The 
Island and the Exile — Feelings of the French rela- 
tive to his humiliation — His own feelings and mem- 
ories — Events of his past life alluded to — The ardour 
of many in his cause unabated — Speculations as to 
the cause of his fall — His death — Meditations above 
his grave — Conclusion 

When war-worn Greece accused, in grief of heart, 
Her adverse fates, and cursed the Dardan dart, 
Meet was the mound on Ikon's plain, to keep 
Her hero's askes and protect kis sleep ; 
Tke mound tkat looks along tke level skore, 
Wkere its cold inmate warred — and wars no more. 
44 



THE EXILE OF ST. HE LEX A 45 

So deemed the blind Ionion, when he stood 
Near the soft murmur of Scamander's flood, 
Till all the patriot fire responsive rose, 
Poured the full song, and wove the exulting close, 
Hymning his country's fame beside her chief's 
repose. 

But he who — musing where the golden grain 1 

Glows fair and fruitful on Marengo's plain, 

Recalls to fancy's eye the shifting scene' 2 

Of fiercer fight, and conquest far more keen 

Than Ilion waged, or Greece achieved — can trace 

No record of its hero's resting-place. 

But foreign hands a distant grave have made, 

And nameless earth upon his breast is laid ; 

And few lament his final rest profaned, 

His tomb unhonoured, and his glory stained. 

And dark he leaves the page, and dumb the lute ; 

The chronicler severe 3 , the Muses mute 

Alas, how justly ! since they cannot raise 

The warrior's glory to the patriot's praise. 

And if they follow, by the Atlantic wave, 

The tyrant's footstep to the exile's grave, 

How shall the burden of their song be borne ? 

'Twere insult to rejoice, impiety to mourn. 



1 The golden grain. The field of Marengo at the present time is 
chiefly sown with Indian-corn (which furnishes the peasant of North 
Italy with his principal article of food), and intersected with rows 
of mulberry trees. 

2 The shifting scene. Alluding to the sudden turn of fortune 
which gave Napoleon the victory. 

3 The chronicler severe. Napoleon's history will never be well 
written. Men are too much interested in the shame or the glory 
with which he covered the flags of their nations to be impartial, 
until time shall have rendered their feelings just, and then it will 
have destroyed their materials. 



46 THE EXILE OF ST. HELENA 

Angel ! ordained of highest Heaven to guide, 
As it has willed, the steps of human pride ; 
Whose presence guards, with more than mortal 

power, 
A mortal's phrenzy through its ordered hour — 
Thy work was mighty, when, in purple state, 
The swart Assyrian smiled at Salem's gate : 
Thy work was mighty by the Indian deep, 
"When Ammon mourned his sword's unwonted sleep : 
Thy work was mighty when, on Cannae's plain, 
Exulting Carthage spurned the silent slain : 
Thy work was mightiest when, like levin 1 flame, 
Down the dark Alps the Gallic Consul came, 
Led his swift legions o'er the neck of kings, 
Bowed Europe's pride beneath his withering wings, 
Wreathed regal purple round his warrior limbs, 
And wrote his restless path in dust of diadems. 

Angel ! whose touch is death, whose glance, decay, — 
Humbler of sworded strength and sceptred sway — 
Dark was thy presence when the desert's breath 
Bade pale Assyria keep her camp of death ; 
Dark was thy presence when, with sudden peace, 
Deep hollowed marble clasped the boast of Greece 2 : 
Dark was thy presence when, in powerless hate, 
The Carthaginian sought a stranger's gate : 
Darkest thy presence when the dead lay piled 
In the slow flight of conquest's chosen child. 
And God's own anger smote, without a sword, 
The millioned might of France's fiery lord ; 
Then bowed his crestless helm and shattered shield 



i Levin. I am afraid this word has no higher authority than 
Scott's, who uses it perpetually when speaking of lightning. 
2 Cum tamen a figulis munitam intraverat urbem 
Sarcophago contentus erit. — Juvenal, x, 171. 



THE EXILE OF ST. HELEXA 47 

To the foul dust on many a fatal field — 

Yet partly spared at first. The warrior's smile 

Again comes lightening from the lonely isle ; 

And France replaces, with a younger host, 

The urnless ashes of her legions lost. 

Her dark troops gather swiftly. Who shall meet 

The battle-murmur of their mingled feet ? 

Up, England ! for thine honour. From afar 

She hears the call — she pours a wave of war ; 

And, 'midst the myriad tread, now low, now loud, 

Of columns crashing through quick-lighted cloud 

With carnage choked, the desolated blue 

Of day fades weakly over Waterloo. 

Ten thousand stars their heavenly thrones attain ; 

One rises not 1 , and will not rise again. 

Its place in heaven is dark ; and he, whose pride 

It once was swift to lead and bright to guide, 

Hath gone down to the dwelling of a slave — 

A dim place, half oblivion, half grave ; 

And all the crowd of kingly destinies 

That once lethargic lay, and lulled, in his 2 , 

Stretch their dark limbs again, with shivering thrill 

Of life renewed and independent will. 

The echo of his fall lies like a trance 

On windless banner and unlifted lance ; 

And the pale brows of men, and voiceless lips 

(As leaves he still beneath the sun's eclipse) 

Are pressed with awe, through all the earth abroad, 

At the swift sheathing of the sword of God. 

1 One rises not. When Cardinal Fesch was endeavouring to 
persuade Napoleon to abandon his designs upon Russia, the Em- 
peror led him to the window. ' Do you see that star ? ' ' No ' 
replied the Cardinal. ' But I do ' said Napoleon ; and left the 
prelate, as if he had fully answered his objections. 

2 As the possessive pronoun here is the most important word 
in the sentence, I may perhaps be excused for letting it conclude 
the line. 



48 THE EXILE OF ST. HELENA 

Far in the southern sea, where changing night 
Rolls round the pole its orbs of stranger light, 
And wandering eyes their native stars forget, 
A narrow isle is solitary set ; 
The purple light of evening's swift decline 
Bathes its calm coast, and gilds its bordering brine 
From the grey crest of a commanding steep, 
A lonely figure gazes on the deep : 
Perchance some fisher finds his parting prow 
By its white furrow on the blue below ? 
Some sun-worn peasant's fingering delight 
Catches the coolness of the breeze of night ? 
Yet doth it stand, as peasant never stood, 
With martial mien, and majesty of mood : 
Nor peasant glance, nor vulgar mind is there, 
But a dark quiet of serene despair — 
Serene, though quivering lip and kindling eye 
Struggle more weakly with the memory 
Which a quenched madness, and a cold control 
Seal on the brow, and gyve into the soul. 
Can it be thou ! despiser of the spear, 
Spirit of armies, desolate, and here ! 
See'st thou the red sun, lowering on the flood, 
Send its swift waters to the shore, like blood P 1 
Well doth thy prison mock thy throne of old — 
That throne, by surges washed, how dark, how cold ! 
Which those who mourn for those who shed com- 
plain — 
Not that they spent, but that they spent in vain. 
France never wept for all the mists of life 
That reeked from every blood-hot place of strife ; 
Nor mourned the bones of brave men laid so low, 

1 Waters like blood. Such an effect is frequent in southern lati- 
tudes. I have seen it beautifully over the Gulf of Genoa, with 
Elba in the distance. So in 2 Kings, hi, 22. 



THE EXILE OF ST. HELENA 49 

To blanch by sea and shore, in sand and snow ; 
But mourns the life she lost, the love she gave, 
All spent for one who dares to die a slave. 

Oh ! exiled less in body than in name, 

Far from thy country, farther from thy fame : 

As the weak ashes 1 , which the billowy beat 

Of the dull ocean crumbles at thy feet, 

Are to their former strength, when earthquake 

spread 
With waves of living fire their heaving bed, 
Art thou to what thou wast. Dost thou not start 
To feel such shadows passing o'er thy heart, 
As once were each a destiny, though now 
Nothing but thoughts ; and on thy brain and brow 
Pale, powerless images of lost command, 
Traced with such finger as the sea's on sand — 
Struggling like phrenzied dreamers, with the sense 
Of their most unaccustomed impotence ? 
Oh ! who can trace the swift and living line, 
The mingled madness, of such dreams as thine ? 
Lo ! through the veiling shadows of despair, 
Pale faces gaze, and fiery eyeballs glare, 
Till thy soul quails at what they seek and see, 
Knowing them long since dark to all but thee. 
Then softer features soothe thee, long forgot, 
Of those who loved thy childhood, and are not ; 
And gentle voices fall, with sudden fear, 
On the quick sense of thy remembering ear, 
First heard in youth, now mingled with the noise 
Of battle wavering in contested poise, 
Each passing slowly to a shout, or moan — 
The same in voice, though older in its tone. 

1 As the weak ashes. St Helena, like the neighbouring island 
of Ascension, is an extinct volcano. 

E 



5"o THE EXILE OF ST. HELENA 

The contest thickens ; to thy kindling sight 

A pale plume 1 dashes through its closest night, 

Before whose checkless charge the lances fail, 

The banners tremble, and the squadrons quail. 

'Tis past — and through the air's unbroken sleep, 

A muffled drum beats distantly and deep. 

Again the dream is changed — and noontide glows 

On Scrivia's plain and Cervin's 2 purple snows. 

O'er the red field thy rallying columns sweep, 

Swift as the storm, resistless as the deep : 

The hostile fines in wild disorder fly ; 

Bormida's waters drift them as they die. 

The vision fades, and through its sudden gloom, 

Thy startled eye discerns a lonely tomb 3 , 

Beneath Mont Velan, where faint voices bless 

The unwearied watchers of the wilderness. 

Then darker scenes, by wilder thoughts displayed, 

Distinct succeed, and fill the dreadful shade : 

Places of human peace or natural pride, 

Withering in flames or desolately dyed 

With fife of all who loved them once, outpoured 

On roofless hearths left silent by the sword. 

Last rise, recalled upon thy burning brain, 

The lofty altar and columnar fane ; 

Pontiff and peer, beneath the marble gate, 

In sacred pride and royal reverence wait ; 

And one is there, of gentle eye and brow, 

Whose love was timid then, how lonely now ! 

Whose constant heart, by every injury torn, 

Thy grief will crush, though it could bear thy scorn. 

And she is there, and pomp of kingly crowd 

1 A paU plume. Alluding to the death of Murat, whose white 
plume used to be a rallying-point in battle. 

2 Cervin. The Matterhorn. 

3 A lowly tomb. Desaix, as is well known, is buried in the chapel 
of the Augustines of St Bernard. 



THE EXILE OF ST. HELENA 51 

Around thee gathered and before thee bowed. 
Hark ! how the shouting nations round thy throne 
The iron crown and doveless sceptre own. 
Wake, wake ; avenger, victor, tyrant, slave ; 
Thy strength was withered by the God who gave ! 
Behold thy guarding pomp — ribbed sand and hissing 



Yet not unmourned, though aidless, is thy fate, 
Though lonely, not left wholly desolate ; 
Even when the sun it worshipped once is set, 
Can veteran love its former faith forget ? 
Still to thy lot the hearts of thousands cleave, 
Fierce to avenge, or eager to retrieve ; 
Still at thy name the warrior fires arise, 
Glow in the heart, and lighten in the eyes ; 
From quiet swords their rusty scabbards fall, 
And blunt spears tinkle on the idle wall. 
Oh ! if the hope of France's wounded heart 
Clings to thee, crushed and fall'n as now thou art, 
How had she rallied, in thy dangerous hour, 
To save thine honour, or to prop thy power ! 
Had the stern will of thine ambition spared 
Her life, to love thee, or her strength to guard — 
Had the high soul, which all the earth subdued, 
Learned but to rule its own inquietude — 
The cries of men and all the noise of war 
Had shrunk in whispers from thy throne afar ; 
The motion of Earth's spears had sunk aside, 
Bowed down in the calm presence of thy pride ; • 
As, underneath the west wind's foot is bent 
The pointed grass in surges innocent. 
The madness, and the murmurs, and the hate 
Of nations had sunk silent ; thou had'st sate 
As sits the morning star, supremely bright 



52 THE EXILE OF ST. HELENA 

Amidst the heaven's weak winds and interwoven 
light 1 . 

And wherefore art thou here ? why poured in vain 

The tide of war on every wasted plain, 

Till Europe's farthest torrent to the sea 

Rolled crimson with the price of victory ? 

Thy doom was sealed, dark spirit, at thy birth, 

Out of the black, cold ruin of the earth, 

When phrenzied France stood fierce amidst the cry 

Of her fair children in their agony. 

Mocking, by lifeless street and temple gate, 

God's image, and His altar desecrate. 

Might it not seem that Deity had sent 

An angry spirit through the firmament, 

Which went forth, like a tempest, to provide 

Graves for the atheist and the homicide ; 

Which underneath its feet, like stubble, trod 

Those who had shown no mercy, feared no God ; 

(Till murder felt the falchion's vengeful edge, 



l Amidst the heaven's weak winds. For the first part of this line 
I must solicit the indulgence of its astronomical judges. For testi- 
mony to the truth of the epithet interwoven, I must appeal to the 
observation of all who are in the habit of walking before breakfast. 
The fleecy clouds of a fine morning are almost always subject to 
the influence of two or more atmospherical currents, acting at right 
angles to each other ; so that they resemble a bright warp and woof, 
which, since by reflecting the horizontal rays it gives all its bril- 
liancy to the sky, may itself be considered as light. 

For the opinions expressed in this passage I hope no lengthened 
apologv will be thought necessary. Surely, could his ambition 
have been restrained, the government of Napoleon was peculiarly 
adapted to the genius of the French nation. His power was suffi- 
cient to check their restlessness, because it was based on their 
• vanity, and his powerful intellect, wherever it turned (and it turned 
everywhere), called into action innumerable energies which had 
before been wasted in frivolity and indolence. The memorials 
of his influence, which remain all over Europe, seem to show us that 
his power, even if unchecked, would have been based, unlike other 
tyrannies, on the prosperity of the nation which he governed. 



THE EXILE OF ST. HELENA 53 

And silence dwelt where once was sacrilege ;) 
Swept from their place the guilty sire and son, 
Then sunk itself, its fated mission done, 
And withered to mortality ? Farewell. 
Thou breath of battle ! Ocean like a knell 
Rings hollow on the shore. Xo more for thee 
Shall love avail, or ancient constancy. 
It comes, the end of mortal hope and ill, 
The passing pain and the enduring chill : 
The silver cord is loosed, the golden bowl 
Is broken at the fountain ; the dark soul 
To God, who gave it, hath returned again, 
And worms feed sweetly on the fear of men. 
Ambition ! this thy kingdom is not wide ; 
Glory ! thy home is dark — thine lowly, Pride. 
O Majesty ! thy robes of pomp are pale ; 
O Strength ! thy hand is colder than its mail. 
Ambition, Power, Pride, Majesty, we trust 
Together. Earth to earth and dust to dust. 

Yet who dares smile, above his coffin-lid, 
At this, the end of all he dreamed and did ; 
Or o'er the mighty dead, with unmoved eyes, 
Severely speak or coldly moralise ? 
Point, for his precept stern, the sage may find 
In frequent fates and masses of mankind ; 
And reason still from like to hke, and trace 
The human frailty, as the human face : 
Here let him pause, nor use example vain 
Of what has been, but shall not be again ; 
Xor teach the tribes of mortals to condemn 
A mightier soul, for what were crime in them ; 
Nor try, by measure to his thoughts confined, 
The error of unfathomable mind. 
Here let him pause, where rocks of silence hold 



54 THE EXILE OF ST. HELENA 

The hopes of thousands, in one coffin cold ; 
And stranger stars, that beamed not on his birth, 
Bedew the darkness of the deathful earth. 
Ocean ! keep calmness on thy bursting brine ; — 
Lo ! here lies hushed a wilder war than thine. 
Strengthen thy shackles, Grave ! they'll quake to 

keep 
Thv captive's breast from heaving in its sleep. 
Cities and nations ! join the burial-hymn 
O'er the cold passion and the lowly limb : 
Meet here, ye kings ! with reverend steps and slow 
Come singing ; God hath lifted, and laid low. 

And thou ! the chosen weapon of His will, 
The hope of England once, her glory still, — 
Thine is no fame, by dark-eyed slaughter nursed 
Of man lamented, and of God accursed ; 
Thine was no path of devastating war, 
No evil triumph of the blood-stained car ; 
But thine the high and holy lot, to rear 
The sacred olive-branch, where shook the spear ; 
To bid tumultuous nations rest, and pour 
A light of peace o'er each exulting shore. 
And England, pointing to her chief est pride, 
Her guard in battle, and in peace her guide, 
Boasts not so much in thee — and those who stood, 
With thee, to sign their bonds of love with blood — 
The victor's forceful hand, and heart of steel, 
As the stern patriot's calm and quenchless zeal. 
Oh ! when, in future days, the minds of men 
Shall call dead nations to the field again, 
Where, o'er the ghastly wreck of war's arrav, 
Pale Clio points a dark and dreadful way — 
How shall thy memory 'midst her records rise 
Soft in its light, though glorious is its guise ! 



THE EXILE OF ST. HELEXA 5 5 

How shall the noblest part of men be stirred 

Be thy name, in their spirits sepulchred ! 

Oh ! long as, proudly throned among the free, 

Britannia sits upon the silver sea— 

That name shall lighten, hke a lordly gem, 

Bound in the brightness of her diadem ; 

Taught by her daughters of the golden hair, 

Youno- lips shall frame it with unconscious care ; 

Her vouthful sons shall start the sound to hear, 

Gra 5 p the keen falchion and the glittering spear : 

Their voice even age's torpor shall beguile ; 

Warmed with his thoughts, the grey-haired sire shall 

smile, . , 

And bless the hero's name and glory-guarded isle. 

l In their spirits sepulchred. Kal rbv ri+ov SmryiAraTor, ov 
AetvEtw.— Thuycd, u, 43- 



THE RECREANT 

(age 19) 

In an attack of the Athenians upon the /Eginetae, the 
former were cut off, with the exception of one man, who 
went home to tell the tale. He was met in the street 
of the city by a group of Athenian women, each of whom, 
inquiring where he had left her husband, wounded him 
with the clasp of her robe until he died. — Herodotus, 
Terpsichore, Book v, ch. 87. 

With the hills of their fathers around them, 

The heaven of their country above, 
They stood in the strength of their manhood, 

They went in the light of our love. 
In the pride of their power they departed, 

Down by the path of the sea ; 
Dark eyes of the desolate-hearted 

Were watching for them and for thee ! 

Who comes from the banquet of blood, 

Where the guests are as still as a stone ? 
Who dares to return by the road, 

Where the steps of his joy are alone ? 
They were bound by the oath of the frefe, 

They were true as the steel that they bare ; 
They were true to themselves and to thee, 

Behold ! thou hast left them — and where ? 

Oh ! well has their triumph been told, 
In the time of its terrible crowning ; 



THE RECREANT $7 

Poor recreant ! kingly, though cold, 

Is the sleep that thou durst not lie down in. 

The swords of the restless are rusted 

In the rest that thou shrankest to share ; 

False helot ! to whom hast thou trusted 
The pride of the peaceful — and where ? 

For thee, who wast not of the number 

That sank in the red battle-shade, 
Thy name shall be cursed in the slumber 

Of the life that thy baseness betrayed. 
The strength of the tremorless tread 

Of our bravest, our love can resign ; 
But tears, as of blood, shall be shed 

For the dastard returning of thine. 

But what ! when thy soul hath not hearkened 

To the charge of our love or our fear, 
Shall the soft eyes of Hellas be darkened 

By the thought of thy birth or thy bier ? 
The strength of thy shame shall requite thee ; 

The souls of the lost shall not see 
Mother nor maid of the mighty 

Shed a tear for a dastard like thee. 



THE WRECK 

(age 19) 

Its masts of might, its sails so free, 
Had borne the scatheless keel 
Through many a day of darkened sea, 
And many a storm of steel ; 
When all the winds were calm, it met 
fWith home-returning prore) 

With the lull 

Of the waves 
On a low lee shore. 

The crest of the conqueror 
On many a brow was bright ; 
The dew of many an exile's eye 
Had dimmed the dancing sight ; 
And for love and for victory, 
One welcome was in store, 

In the lull 

Of the waves 
On a low lee shore. 

The voices of the night are mute 
Beneath the moon's eclipse ; 
The silence of the fitful flute 
Is on the dying lips. 
The silence of my lonely heart 
Is kept for evermore 

In the lull 

Of the waves 
On a low lee shore. 



ARISTODEMUS AT PLAT.EA 

(age 19) 

Of two Spartans who were prevented by illness from 
taking part in the battle of Thermopylae, and who were, 
in consequence, degraded to the level of Helots, one, 
unable to endure the scorn of his countrymen, killed him- 
self ;ii.the other, by name Aristodemus, waited, and 
when, at the battle of Plataea, thirty-three thousand 
allied Greeks stood to receive the final and desperate 
attack of three hundred thousand chosen Asiatics, and 
the Spartans, unused to Persian arms, hung slightly back, 
he charged alone, calling to his countrymen to ' follow 
the coward ' — broke the enemy's mass — and was found, 
when the victorious Greeks who followed him had laid 
two hundred thousand of their enemy dead on the field, 
lying on a low hillock, with his face turned up to heaven 
— a group of the Persian nobles slaughtered around him. 
He was refused the honours of burial, because, it was 
said, he was only courageous in despair. 



Ye have darkened mine honour and branded my 

name, 
Ye have quenched its remembrance in silence and 

shame ; 
Yet the heart ye called craven, unbroken, hath 

borne 
The voice of your anger — the glance of your scorn. 



60 ARISTODEMUS AT PLAT IE A 

ii 

But the life that hath lingered is now in mine 

hand 1 ; 
My waiting was but for a lot of the land, 
Which His measure, who ruleth the battle array, 
May mete for your best and your bravest to-day. 

in 

My kinsmen — my brothers — your phalanx is fair ; 
There's a shield, as I think, that should surely be 

there ; 
Ye have darkened its disk, and its hour hath drawn 

near, 
To be reared as a trophy, or borne as a bier 2 . 



What said I ? Alas, though the foe in his flight 
Should quit me, unspoiled, on the field of the fight, 
Ye will leave me to lie, with no hand to inurn, 
For the dog to devour, or the stranger to spurn ! 



What matter ? Attendants my slumber shall 

grace, 
With blood on the breast and with fear on the face ; 
And Sparta may own that the death hath atoned 
For the crime of the cursed, whose life she disowned. 



1 I Sam., xxviii, 21 ; Job, xiii, 14. 

2 If his body were obtained by the enemy, it would be reared 
as a trophy ; ii recovered by his friends, bome as a bier ; unless, 
as he immediately called to mind, they should deny him funeral 
honours. 



ARISTODEMUS AT PLATMA 61 

VI 

By the banks of Eurotas her maidens shall meet, 
And her mountains rejoice in the fall of your feet ; 
And the cry of your conquest be lofty 7 and loud, 
O'er the lengthened array of the shield — or the 
shroud. 



And the fires of the grave shall empurple the air, 
When they lick the white dust of the bones ye shall 

bear ; 
The priest and the people, at altar and shrine, 
Shall worship their manes, disdainful of mine. 

VIII 

Yet say that they fought for the hopes of their 

breast, — 
For the hearts that had loved them, the lips that 

had blessed ; 
For the roofs that had covered, the country that 

claimed, 
The sires that had named them, the sons they had 

named. 



And say that I fought for the land of the free, 
Though its bosom of blessing beat coldly for me ; 
For the lips that had cursed me, the hearts that 

had scorned,' 
And the desolate hope of the death unadorned. 



SALSETTE AND ELEPHAXTA 

(age 19-20) 

A PRIZE POEM 

Religio pedibus subjecta vicissim 
Obteritur. Xos exaequat victoria coelo. — Lucretius, I, 79 

'Tis eve — and o'er the face of parting day- 
Quick smiles of summer lightning flit and play ; 
In pulses of broad light, less seen than felt, 
They mix in heaven, and on the mountains melt ; 
Their silent transport fills the exulting air — 
'Tis eve, and where is evening half so fair ? 
Oh ! deeply, softly sobs the Indian sea 
O'er thy dark sands, majestic Dharavee 1 , 
When, from each purple hill and polished lake, 
The answering voices of the night awake 
The fitful note of many a brilliant bird — 
The lizard's plunge, o'er distant waters heard — 
The thrill of forest leaves — how soft, how swift ! 
That floats and follows where the night-winds 

drift ; 
Or, piercing through the calmness of the sky, 
The jungle tiger's sharp and sudden cry. 
Yet all is peace, for these weak voices tell 
How deep the calm they break, but not dispel. 
The twilight heaven rolls on, like some deep stream 
When breezes break not on its moving dream ; 



1 The southern promontory of the island of Salsette. 

«2 



SALSETTE AXD ELEPHAXTA 63 

Its trembling stars continual watches keep, 

And pause above Canarah's haunted steep *; 

Each in its path of first ascension hid 

Behind the height of that pale pyramid — 

(The strength of nations hewed the basalt spring 2 , 

And barbed its rocks like sacrificial fire.) 

Know they the hour's approach, whose fateful 

flight " 
Was watched of yore from yonder cloudless height ? 
Lone on its utmost peak, the Prophet Priest 
Beheld the night unfolded from the East ; 
In prescient awe perused its blazing scroll, 
And read the records stretched from Pole to Pole. 
And though their eyes are dark, their lips are still, 
Who watched and worshipped on Canarah's hill, 
Wild superstition's visionary power 
Still rules and fills the spirit of the hour : 
The Indian maiden, through the scented grove, 
Seeks the dim shore, and fights the lamp of love ; 
The pious peasant, awe-struck and alone, 
With radiant garland crowns the purple stone 3 , 
And shrinks, returning through the starlit glade, 
When breezes stir the peepul's sacred shade 4 ; 
For well his spirit knows the deep appeal 
That love must mourn to miss, yet fear to feel ; 
Low sounds, faint rays, upon the senses shed — 
The voices of the lost, the dark eyes of the dead. 



1 The central peak of Salsette. 

2 ML Anquetil du Perron, in his accounts of Canarah, says that 
its peak appears to have been hewn to a point by human art as 
an emblem of the solar ray. 

3 ' A stone painted with red, and placed at the foot of their 
favourite tree, is sufficient to call forth the devotion of the poor, 
who bring to it flowers and simple offerings.' — J. S. Buckingham. 

* The superstitious feeling of the Indian with respect to the peepul 
tree is weli known. Its shade is supposed to be loved and haunted 
by the dead. 



64 SALSETTE AXD ELEPHAXTA 

How awful now, when night and silence brood 

O'er Earth's repose and Ocean's solitude, 

To trace the dim and devious paths that guide 

Along Canarah's steep and craggy side, 

Where, girt with gloom — inhabited by fear — 

The mountain homes of India's gods appear ! 

Range above range they rise, each hollow cave 

Darkling as death, and voiceless as the grave ; 

Save that the waving weeds in each recess 

With rustling music mock its loneliness ; 

And beasts of blood disturb, with stealthy tread, 

The chambers of the breathless and the dead. 

All else of life, of worship, passed away, 

The ghastly idols fall not, nor decay ; 

Retain the lip of scorn, the rugged frown, 

And grasp the blunted sword and useless crown ; 

Their altars desecrate, their names untold, 

The hands that formed, the hearts that feared — 

how cold ! 
Thou too — dark Isle ! whose shadow on the sea 
Lies like the gloom that mocks our memory 
When one bright instant of our former lot 
Were grief, remembered, but were guilt, forgot. 
Rock of the lonely crest ! how oft renewed 
Have beamed the summers of thy solitude, 
Since first the myriad steps that shook thy shore 
Grew frail and few — then paused for evermore ! 
Answer — ye long-lulled echoes ! Where are they 
Who clove your mountains with the shafts of day ; 
Bade the swift life along their marble fly, 
And struck their darkness into deity, 
Nor claimed from thee^pale temple of the wave — 
Record or rest, a glory or a grave ? 
Now all are cold — the votary as his god — 
And by the shrine he feared, the courts he trod 



SALSETTE AXD ELEPHAXTA 65 

The livid snake extends his glancing trail, 
And lifeless murmurs mingle on the gale. 

Yet glorious still, though void, though desolate, 
Proud Dharapori 1 ! gleams thy mountain-gate, 
What time, emergent from the eastern wave, 
The keen moon's crescent hghts thy sacred cave ; 
And moving beams confuse, with shadowy change, 
Thy columns' massive might and endless range. 
Far, far beneath, where sable waters sleep, 
Those radiant pillars pierce the crystal deep, 
And mocking waves reflect, with quivering smile, 
Their long recession of refulgent aisle 2 ; 
As, where Atlantis hath her lonely home, 
Her grave of guilt, beneath the ocean's foam ; 
Above the lifeless hearth and guardless gate, 
The wildly- walking surges penetrate, 
And sapphire tints of phosphor lightning fall 
O'er the broad pillar and the sculptured wall. — 
So, Dharapori ! through thy cold repose 
The flooding lustre of the moonlight flows ; 
Xew forms of fear 3 , by every touch displayed, 
Gleam, pale and passioned, through the dreadful 

shade, 
In wreathed groups of dim, distorted life, 
In ghastly calmness, or tremendous strife ; 
While glaring eye and grasping hand attest 
The mocked emotion of the marble breast. 
Thus, in the fevered dream of restless pain, 
Incumbent horror broods upon the brain ; 
Through mists of blood colossal shapes arise, 

1 The Indian name for Elephanta. 

2 The interior of Elephanta is usually damp, and its floor covered 
with water two or three feet deep. By moonlight its shallowness 
would be unperceived. 

3 The sculptures of Elephanta have such ' horrible and fearful 
formes that they make a man's hayre stande upright.' — Linschoten. 

F 



66 SALSETTE AXD ELEPHAXTA 

Stretch their stiff limbs, and roll their rayless eyes. 

Yet knew not here the chisel's touch to trace 

The finer lineaments of form and face ; 

No studious art of delicate design 

Conceived the shape, or lingered on the line. 

The sculptor learned, on Indus' plains afar, 

The various pomp of worship and of war ; 

Impetuous ardour in his bosom woke, 

And smote the animation from the rock. 

In close battalions kingly forms advance 1 , 

Wave the broad shield, and shake the soundless 

lance ; 
With dreadful crest adorned, and orient gem, 
Lightens the helm and gleams the diadem ; 
Loose o'er their shoulders fall their flowing hair 
With wanton wave, and mocks the unmoving air ; 
Broad o'er their breasts extend the guardian zones, 
Broidered with flowers and bright with mystic 

stones ; 
Poised in aethereal march they seem to swim, 
Majestic motion marked in every limb ; 
In changeful guise they pass — a lordly train, 
Mighty in passion, unsubdued in pain 2 ; 
Revered as monarchs, or as gods adored, 
Alternately they rear the sceptre and the sword. 
Such were their forms, and such their martial mien, 
Who met by Indus' shore the Assyrian queen 3 , 

1 ' Some of these figures have helmets of a pyramidal form ; 
others wear crowns richly decorated with jewels ; others display 
large bushy ringlets of curled or flowing hair. In their hands they 
grasp sceptres and shields, the symbols of justice and the ensigns 
of religion, the weapons of war and the trophies of peace.' — Maurice, 
Antiq. of India, vol. ii, p. 145. 

2 Manv of them have countenances expressive of mental suffering. 

3 Semiramis. M. D'Ancarville supposes the cave to have been 
excavated by her army ; and insists on the similarity between the 
costume of the sculptured figures and that of her Indian adver- 
saries. See D'Ancarville, vol. i, p. 121. 



SALSETTE AND ELEPHANT A 67 

When, with reverted force, the Indian dyed 
His javelin in the pulses of her pride, 
And cast, in death-heaps, by the purple flood, 
Her strength of Babylonian multitude. 

And mightier ones are there — apart — divine, 

Presiding genii of the mountain-shrine : 

Behold, the giant group, the united three, 

Faint symbol of an unknown Deity ! 

Here, frozen into everlasting trance, 

Stern Siva's quivering lip and hooded glance ; 

There, in eternal majesty serene, 

Proud Brahma's painless brow and constant mien ; 

There glows the light of Veeshnu's guardian smile, 

But on the crags that shade yon inmost aisle 

Shine not, ye stars ! Annihilation's lord 1 

There waves, with many an arm, the unsated 

sword ; 
Relentless holds the cup of mortal pain, 
And shakes the spectral links that wreathe his 

ghastly chain. 
Oh ! could these lifeless lips be taught to tell 
(Touched by Chaldean art or Arab spell) 
What votaries here have knelt, what victims died, 
In pangs, their gladness, or in crimes, their pride. 
How should we shun the awful solitude, 
And deem the intruding footsteps dashed in blood ! 
How might the altar-hearths grow warm and red, 
And the air shadowy with avenging dead ! 
Behold ! — he stirs — that cold, colossal king ! — 
'Tis but the uncertain shade the moonbeams fling ; 
Hark ! a stern voice awakes with sudden thrill ! — 
'Twas but the wandering wind's precarious will : 
The distant echo dies, and all the cave is still. 

1 Alluding to a sculpture representing the evil principle of India ; 
he seems engaged in human sacrifice, and wears a necklace of skulls. 



68 SALSETTE AXD ELEPHAXTA 

Yet fancy, floating on the uncertain light, 

Fills with her crowded dreams the course of night ; 

At her wild will aethereal forms appear, 

And sounds, long silent, strike the startled ear : 

Behold the dread Mithratic rite reclaim 1 

Its pride of ministers, its pomp of flame ! 

Along the winding walls, in ordered row, 

Flash myriad fires — the fretted columns glow ; 

Beaming above, the imitative sky 

Extends the azure of its canopy, 

Fairest where imaged star and airy sprite 

Move in swift beauty and entrancing light ; 

A golden sun reflected lustre flings, 

And wandering Dewtahs 2 wave their crimson 

wings ; 
Beneath, fed richly from the Arabian urn, 
Undying lamps before the altar burn ; 
And sleepless eyes the sacred sign behold, 
The spiral orb of radiated gold ; 
On this the crowds of deep- voiced priests attend, 
To this they loudly cry, they lowly bend ; 
O'er their wan brows the keen emotions rise, 
And pious phrenzy flashes from their eyes ; 
Phrenzy in mercy sent, in torture tried, 
Through paths of death their only guard and guide, 
When, in dread answer to their youth's appeal, 
Rose the red fire and waved the restless steel 3 , 

1 Throughout the description of the rites of Mithra, I have fol- 
lowed Maurice, whose indefatigable research seems almost to have 
demonstrated the extreme antiquity, at least, of the Elephanta 
cavern, as well as its application to the worship of the solar orb 
and of fire. For a detailed account of this worship, see Maurice, 
Indian Antiq., vol. ii, sec. 7. 

2 Inferior spirits of various power and disposition, holding in the 
Hindoo mythologythe place of angels. They appear in multitudes 
on the roof of the Elephanta cavern. 

3 Alluding to the dreadful ceremonies of initiation which the 
priests of Mithra were compelled to undergo, and which seem to 



SALSETTE AXD ELEPHAXTA 69 

And rushed the wintry billow's wildest wreck — 
Their God hath called them, and shall danger check ? 
On — on — for ever on, though, roused in wrath 
Glare the grim lion on their lonely path ; 
Though, starting from his coiled malignant rest, 
The deadly dragon lift his crimson crest ; 
Though corpse-like shadows round their footsteps 

flock, 
And shafts of lightning cleave the incumbent rock ; 
On, for behold, enduring honours wait 
To grace their passage through the golden'gate 1 ; 
Glorious estate, and more than mortal power, 
Succeed the dreadful expiating hour ; 
Impurpled robes their weary limbs enfold 
With stars emvoven, and stiff with heavenly gold ; 
The mitra 2 veils their foreheads, rainbow-dyed, 
Their measured steps imperial sceptres guide ; 
Glorious they move, and pour upon the air 
The cloud of incense and the voice of prayer ; 
While through the hollow vault, around them rise 
Deep echoes from the couch of sacrifice, 
In passioned gusts of sound — now loud, now low, 
With billowy pause, the mystic murmurs flow 
Far dwindling on the breeze. Ere yet they die 
Canarah hears, and all his peaks reply ; 
His crested chasms the vocal winds explore, 

have had a close correspondence with the Eleusinian mysteries. 
See Maurice, Antiq. of India, vol. v, p. 620. 

1 The sidereal metempsychosis was represented in the Mithratic 
rites by the ascent of a ladder, on which there were seven gates : 
the first of lead, representing Saturn ; the second of tin, Venus ; 
the third brass, Jupiter ; the fourth iron, Mercury ; the fifth mixed, 
Mars; the sixth silver, the Moon ; the seventh of gold, the Sun. 

2 The attire of Mithra's priests was splendid : the robes of purple, 
with the heavenly constellations embroidered on them in gold. 
They wore girdles representative of the zodiacal circle, and carried 
a golden sceptre in the form of a serpent. Ezekiel speaks of them as 
• exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads ' (xxiii, 15). 



;o SALSETTE AXD ELEPHAXTA 

Waste on the deep, and wander on the shore. 
Above, the starry gloom is thrilled with fear 
The forests shake, the circling hamlets hear, 
And wake to worship. Many an isle around, 
Assembling votaries swell the sacred sound, 
And, troop by troop, along the woodland ways, 
In equal measures pour responsive praise : 
To Mithra first their kindling songs addressed, 
Lull his long slumbers in the watery west ; 
Next to the strength of each celestial sign 
They raise the choral chaunt, the breathing line ; 
Keen through the arch of heaven their hymns arise, 
Auspicious splendours deck the answering skies. 
The sacred cohorts, maddening as they sing, 
Far through the air their flashing torches fling ; 
From rock to rock the rushing glories leap, 
Climb the wide hills, and clothe the central steep, 
Till through the endless night a living line 
Of lustre opens on the bounding brine ; 
Ocean rejoices, and his isles prolong, 
With answering zeal, those bursts of flame and song, 
Till the strong vulture on Colombo's peak 
Awakes with ruffled plume and startled shriek, 
And the roused panther of Almorah's wood 
Howls through his violated solitude. 

'Tis past — the mingled dream — though slow and 

grey 
On mead and mountain break the dawning day ; 
Though stormy wreaths of lingering cloud oppress 
Long time the winds that breathe — the rays that 

bless — 
They come, they come. Night's fitful visions fly 
Like autumn leaves, and fade from fancy's eye ; 
So shall the God of might and mercy dart 



SALSETTE AND ELEPHANT A 7> 

His day-beams through the caverns of ^ heart ; 
Strike the weak idol from its ancient throne, 

ltd idol's tremble through their H»teos-e. 
Yarn now the lofty light-the marbl gl » , 
m the keen shaft that rose by Gunga s stream 
yAien rcTd its base the hostile .lightnings glowed, 

Tnf serpent seeprre-and thy wittering glance 1 
Low in the dnst. its rocky sculptures rent 
Thine own memorial proves thee impotent. 
Thyvoranes mourn thy cold ^heeding s£p 
Chide when they praised, and where tne> 

shipped, weep. 
Yes I he shall fall, though once his throne was set 
Y here the high heaven and crested mountains met , 
Though distant shone with many an azure gem 



The glacier glory of his diadem ; ,. Teath6d 

Though sheets of sulphurous cloud and wreathed. 

Cast veiTof terror round his shadowy form 
aT all are vain ! It comes, the hallowed day. 

» Stva. This column was dedicated to Km at ^nares, ajdj 

tradition prevailed among ^X^^er India, and Bramah be 
faU, one universal rehgion would extena ^^ ^ & q 

no more worshipped. lt ,^}&^ (See Heber's Journal.) 
between the Hindoos ^ Mussutoans. i tive of Hindoo 

Siva is spoken of m ^ e ^Uowrng Unes asrepr ^^ ^ fast . 

deiues ^ .^ggJJi^^p^S'with all the gloomy features 
SSS&S.'SrS'Spi.titiSi. of hm-countnes. 



SALSETTE AXD ELEPHANTA 

Whose dawn shall rend that robe of fear away ; 
Then shall the torturing spells that midnight knew 
Far in the cloven dells of Mount Meru, 
Then shall the moan of phrenzied hymns, that 

sighed 
Down the dark vale where Gunga's waters glide, 
Then shall the idol chariot's thunder cease 
Before the steps of them that publish peace. 
Already are they heard — how fair, how fleet, 
Along the mountains flash their bounding feet ! 
Disease and death before their presence fly ; 
Truth calls, and gladdened India hears the cry, 
Deserts the darkened path her fathers trod, 
And seeks redemption from the Incarnate God. 



SONG 

(age 19) 



We care not what skies are the clearest, 

What scenes are the fairest of all ; 
The skies and the scenes that are dearest 

For ever, are those that recall 
To the thoughts of the hopelessly-hearted 

The light of the dreams that deride, 
With the form of the dear and departed, 

Their lonehness wearv and wide. 



The beauty of earth or of ocean 

Dies darkly, and withered away, 
If they rouse no remembered emotion 

By the light of their lifeless array ; 
By the thoughts which we cannot dissever 

From the place where their loveliness ros: 
Is the unbroken seal set for ever 

On the place of their passioned repose. 

in 
Thou knowest — sweet shade of my spirit ! 

That the changes of time or of scene 
May mock me — but none disinherit 

Remembrance of that which has been ; 



74 SOXG 

With the July wind's Indian story 

Come dreams of the winter-scathed tree : 

With the flush of Creation's high glory, 
Of the place that was hallowed by thee. 

IV 

Though it now may be dark and deserted, 

It hath thoughts that I cannot resign ; 
My glance is not vainly reverted 

To the spot that was lightened by thine : 
Remember — whate'er thou hast taken, 

Thou hast left me a throb and a thrill ; 
And the heart which it seemed was forsaken, 

Is round thee, and dwells with thee still. 



SOXG 

(age 19) 



Though thou hast not a feeling for one 
Who is torn by many for thee ; 

Yet oh ! not entirely unknown 
To thy heart can the agony be 

Of him whom thou leftest alone 

By the green and cold surge of the sea. 



Thine eye may gleam bright through thy tresses, 

It hath not a grief to deplore ; 
Thy lips, in their speaking caresses, 

May be lovely and light as of yore : 
None love them as he did, who blesses 

Their motion and music no more. 



Oh ! ask of the thoughts that illume 
Thy heart in the hour of its pride, 

Though the flush of thy beauty may bloom 
Where the throne of its worship is wide, 

Who loves it, as he did, to whom 
Alone it is ever denied ! 
75 



76 SONG 

IV 

The thoughts, to whose sceptre resistance 
Is mockery — compass their slave ; 

Not even from that desolate distance, 
Beyond the wild depth of the wave, 

Can the presence that gave them existence, 
Departed — bequeath them a grave 






HORACE :— ■ ITER AD BRUXDUSIUM ' 

AGE 19) 

The gust sung soft and well, as if to keep 
My wakening lulled — although it banished sleep ; 
From sluggish waters, in the moonlit marsh, 
The midnight reptiles' cry came low and harsh ; 
Beneath my window, where the turf was kind, 
A weary traveller on his cloak reclined, 
Sought the sweet rest his fevered dream denied. 
Stirred, as in fear, or as in sorrow sighed ; 
My muleteer, slow pacing, drove his team 
Up to a lilied meadow, which a stream 
Kept verdant, — where a myrtle thicket .grew, 
Shading its softness from the damp, cold dew 
(Through the close leaves entangled starlight fell 
On twining rose and orient asphodel) ; 
And, as he urged the lingering mules along, 
Cheered and beguiled his moonlit way with song ; 
Singing the glancing eye and glossy shade 
Of the dark tresses of his mountain maid : 
Remembering how, upon their parting day, 
She turned her sad and soul-like eyes away ; 
Yet left their look, to bind him with its spell, 
When her lips trembled in the faint Farewell ! 



MEMORY 

(age 19) 

The Summer wind is soft and kind 

The midnight leaves among, 
And perfumed power, by wind and flower, 

Is on its wild wings flung ; 
And harp-like notes of music meet 
Its viewless hand and whispering feet. 

Oh ! memory, like that breeze of night, 

Can soothe a darker gloom, 
And, from the flowers of lost delight, 

Awake the weak perfume. 
Faint, sad, and sweet the echoes call 
In answer to her footsteps' fall. 

But Winter's breath is chill as death, 

And hushed his lifeless sky ; 
Though on the ground comes saddening sound 

Of leaves that dancing die ; 
And all the earth that heaven looks on 

Is widely waste, and weakly wan. 

But winter comes not o'er the heart 

Where memory doth not die ; 
There is much sorrow in her smile, 

More soothing in her sigh ; 
And her deep glance is bright with rays — 
The light of long departed days. 



THE NAME 

(AGE 19) 
I 

He was a strange, yet gentle youth, 

The meaning of whose mind was made 

Half of vision, half of truth ; 

The dream a sun — the truth a shade ; 

But, of the strange and fitful flame 

That once aroused his fiery frame 

To thought or passion — work — or will. 

This only is remembered still : 

He loved a name. 



He loved a name. Perchance he found 

Its syllables were sweet of sound ; 

Or called at once on ear and eye, 

The thrill of a lost memory ; 

Or o'er the heart, that no one knew, 

Came like the south wind, dropping dew, 

To mock its early hope and hue. 

Some called the name — and, saying, smiled- 

A name of nothing. But it seemed 

That, like a night-bewildered child 

Awaked from fancies wan and wild, 

He pined for what he dreamed. 



3o THE SAME 



in 



He loved a name : and frequent wept 
To hear a careless lip expressing 
The love that, like an echo, slept 
In chasms of his soul, and kept 
It full of visionary blessing. 
Alas ! that any dared to claim 
Possession of the secret name, 
Or violate, with stranger-tone, 
The sound he fancied all his own. 



IV 

He loved it — as grief loves the tomb, 
That is her memory's bourne and bower. 
He feared the lips of those to whom 
He dared not own its passioned power. 
Their breath came like the dead Simoom 
Across the beauty and the bloom 
Of his unfading flower. 
Yet would he oft, with secret tone, 
Breathe it to himself alone, 
O'er and o'er, and smile — and yet 
His lip was pale, his eye was wet ; 
Perchance because he could not see 
The sound of its sweet company. 
Poor fool ! at last he met it, where 
It left him darkness and despair ; 
Even graved on the pavement pale 
Of a long and lone cathedral aisle, 
On a flat, cold slab of narrow stone, 
With the damp and the dimness of earth there- 
on ; 
Worn bv the foot — scorned bv the eve, 



THE NAME 81 

Of the calm and careless passer-by. 
It was sculptured clear on the marble grey- 
Under a star of the tinted light ; 
His weeping was wild that dreary day — 
His sleeping was sound that night 



CANZONET 

(age 19) 

I 
The winter's chill hath charmed the wave, 

The wasted leaves have left the bough, 
The pale stars give the light they gave 

^When thou wast — where thou art not now. 
Oh ! as the frail and lonely lute, 
Whose chords are cold, whose music mute, 
This heart is left alone by thee, 
Who wert its only melody. 



Oh ! say with whom shall now be spent 
The hours that once were spent with thee ? 

Whose every pause is eloquent 

Of what has been and cannot be : 

A form is near me — known, how well ! — 

A voice is round me like a spell. 

Thou comest — it mocks me. Vision vain ! 

Thou wilt not, shalt not, come again. 



Canst thou yet come to fill this heart 

With the same voice, and mood, and mien ? 

Oh ! if to know what now thou art 
Were to forget what thou hast been, 



CAXZOXET S3 

The soul that loved thee must be chill 
And changed, if it could love thee still. 
Oh ! darkly would it dread to deem 
What once was memorv — now a dream. 



I would not that these hours were spent 

Even with thyself — if not the same ; 
If it be true to her who went, 

Were to be false to her who came. 
Deep in this heart's most silent place 
Their gentle path those hours shall trace. 
Think'st thou an hour can ever be 
Spent there, and yet not spent with thee ? 



FRAGMENT FROM A METEOROLOGICAL 
JOURNAL 

(age 19) 

Six days the mist was breathed into the sky, 

From the pale lips of the earth — most silently. 

It was a cheerful mist — and the young Frost 

Played strangely in the Starlight, which, half lost, 

Crept in white cords among the icy hair 

Of the faint Midnight ; while the moveless air 

Fashioned, with fingers fine, the gathering slow 

Of frost-work clear and wreaths of swan-like snow. 

The mist was full of voices musical — 

— The laugh of merry children — the shrill call 

Of the slow ploughboy from the furrows brown — 

Tinkling of bells upon the breezy down, 

Where following sheep tread bleating, and the cry 

Of shepherd-dogs, that bark for company — 

And song of winter-birds, that still repeat 

The notes which desolation makes so sweet. 

But on the seventh day there came a wind 

From the far south, whose voice was low and kind ; 

And the mist felt its feet tread where they went — 

Yielding before them — all obedient ; 

And by their passing, a slow chasm was riven 

In the grey clouds ; and the deep silent heaven 

Gazed down in pure essence of its love — 

Kindling the earth with blessing from above, 

Yet sad — exceeding sad ; and one lone star, 



FRAGMENT S5 

Tearful and pale as hopes of sorrow are. 
Far in the west, seemed smiling as it sate, 
As one, whose mourning is left desolate, 
Doth smile at consolation. 

Thus it is 
That we would gladden with forgetfulness 
The heart, whose memory maddens us ; and weave 
A mist of thoughts and voices which may leave 
Nothing that once was rosy-wreathed joy, 
To pale and wither into agony. 
Yet evermore — its beauty veiled in vain — 
The past — the lost — the loved — looks forth again. 
Oh ! happier far to hail the grief that keeps 
The thoughts that Memory blesses, as she weeps, 
Yet feebly, softly smiles, to see, to know 
Her unforgotten joy — her hope of long ago. 



CANZONET 
(age 19) 



There's a change in the green of the leaf, 

And a change in the strength of the tree 
There's a change in our gladness or grief — 

There may be a change upon thee. 

But love long — bereft of thee, 

Hath a shade left of thee ; 

Swift and pale hours may float 

Past — but it changeth not. 



As a thought in a consecrate book, 

As a tint in the silence of air, 
As the dream in the depths of the brook, 

Thou art there. 

When we two meet again, 

Be it in joy or pain, 

Which shall the fairest be — 

Thou — or thy memory ? 



THE MIRROR 

(age 19) 



It saw, it knew thy loveliness, 

Thy burning lip and glancing eye, 

Each lightning look, each silken tress 
Thy marble forehead braided by, 

Like an embodied music, twined 

About a brightly breathing mind. 



Alas ! its face is dark and dim ; 

No more its lightless depth below 
That glancing eye shall seem to swim, 

That brow to breathe or glow ; 
Its treacherous depth — its heartless hue- 
Forgets the form that once it knew. 



With many a changing shape and face 
Its surface may be marked and crossed- 

Portrayed with as distinct a grace 
As thine, whose loveliness is lost ; 

But there's one mirror, good and true, 

That doth not lose what once it knew. 

87 



THE MIRROR 



My thoughts are with that beauty blest, 
A breathing, burning, living vision, 

That, like a dove with wings at rest, 

Still haunts the heart it makes Elysian ; 

And days and times pass like a sleep 

Softly sad, and still, and deep ; 

And, oh ! what grief would wakening be 

From slumber bright with dreams of thee ! 



SONG OF THE TYROLESE AFTER THE 
BATTLE OF BRIXEX » 

(age 19) 

Oh ! the pause of silent dread 

After rush of battles holy ! 

Lo ! the spirits of the dead 

From the held are floating slowly ; 

Dense the mist reeks, full of life 

From the blcod-hot place of strife, 

Where our noblest, bravest, he so lowly. 

But there's pride in the gasp of our conquerors' 

breath, 
Though their laurels be wreathed by the fingers of 

Death ; 
There's a smile on the lip that is ceasing to quiver. 
And a flash in the eye that is freezing for ever. 

Beneath the sacred sod they lie on 
Lay we our triumphant brave ; 
This land they loved to live and die on, 
And o'er their honourable grave 
Shall blossoms burst of brilliant hue, 
And softly shall distil the dew, 
And mountain pines umbrageous darkly wave ; 
The stars shall look down from the heaven most 
brightly, 

1 In which Hofer obtained a complete victory. 

89 



go SOXG OF THE TYROLESE 

Where the bones of the brave are, the moon will 

watch nightly ; 
Like the Alp that is reddest at set of the sun, 
Brightest in death is the glory they've won ; 
Our shouting the hymn at their burial shall be — 
Oh ! a soldier sleeps well in a land that is free ! 



A SCYTHIAN BANQUET SOXG 
(age 19) 

The Scythians, according to Herodotus, made use of 
part of their enemies' bodies after death for many do- 
mestic purposes ; particularly of the skull, which they 
scalped, wrapped in bull's hide, and filled up the cracks 
with gold ; and, having gilded the hide and parts of the 
bone, used the vessel as a drinking-cup, wreathing it with 
flowers at feasts. 



I think my soul was childish yet, 

"When first it knew my manhood's foe ; 
But what I was, or where we met, 

I know not — and I shall not know. 
But I remember, now. the bed 

On which I waked from such sick slumber 
As, after pangs of powerless dread, 
Is left upon the limbs like lead, 

Amidst a calm and quiet number 
Of corpses, from whose cold decay 
Mine infant fingers shrank away ; 
My brain was wild, my limbs were weak, 
And silence swallowed up my shriek — 

Eleleu. 



Alas ! my kindred, dark and dead, 
Were those from whom I held aloof ; 

I lay beneath the ruins red 

Of what had been my childhood's roof ; 



92 SCYTHIAX BANQUET SOXG 

And those who quenched its wasted wood, 

As morning broke on me and mine, 
Preserved a babe baptized in blood, 
And human grief hath been its food. 

And human life its wine. 
What matter ? — those who left me there 
Well nerved mine infant limbs to bear 
What, heaped upon my haughty head, 
I might endure — but did not dread. 

Eleleu. 

in 
A stranger's hand, a stranger's love, 

Saved my life and soothed my woe, 
And taught my youth its strength to prove, 

To wield the lance and bend the bow. 
I slew the wolf by Tyres' 1 shore, 

I tracked the pard by chasm and cliff ; 
Rich were the warrior spoils I wore ; 
Ye know me well, though now no more 

The lance obeys these fingers stiff ; 
My hand was strong, my hope was high, 
All for the glance of one dark eye ; 
The hand is weak, the heart is chill — 
The glance that kindled, colder still. 

Eleleu. 



By Tyres' banks, like Tyres' wave, 
The hours of youth went softly by ; 

Alas ! their silence could not save 
My being from an evil eye : 

Tt watched me — little though I knew 
The wrath around me rising slow, 

1 Tyres, a river of Scythia, now the Dneister. 



SCYTHIAX BAXQUET SOXG 93 

Nor deemed my love, like Upas dew, 
A plague, that where it settled, slew. 

My time approached ; I met my foe : 
Down with a troop he came by night 1 , 
We fought them by their lances' light ; 
On lifeless hearth, and guardless gate, 
The dawn of day came desolate. 

Eleleu. 



Away, away — a Persian's slave, 

I saw my bird of beauty borne, 
In wild despair, too weak to save, 

Too maddening to mourn. 
There dwells a sound within my brain 

Of horses' hoofs beat swift and hollow 
Heard, when across the distant plain, 
Elaira stretched her arms in vain 

To him whose limbs were faint to follow. 
The spoiler knew not, when he fled, 
The power impending o'er his head ; 
The strength so few have tameless tried, 
That love can give for grief to guide. 

Eleleu. 



I flung my bow behind my back, 

And took a javelin in my hand, 
And followed on the fiery track 

Their rapine left upon the land. 

1 There were frequent incursions made by the Persians upon the 
Scythians before the grand invasion of Darius. 



94 SCYTHIAN BANQUET SOXG 

The desert sun in silence set, 

The desert darkness climbed the sky ; 
I knew that one was waking yet, 
Whose heart was wild, whose eve was wet, 

For me and for my misery ; — 
One who had left her glance of grief, 
Of earthly guides my chosen and chief ; 
Through thirst and fear, by wave and hill, 
That dark eye watched and wooed me still 

Eleleu. 



Weary and weak — their traces lost. — 

I roved the brazen cities 1 through, 
That Helle's undulating coast 

Doth lift beside its billows blue ; 
Till, in a palace-bordered street, 

In the dusk starlight of the day, 
A stalkless flower fell near my feet, 
Withered and worn, yet passing sweet ; 

Its root was left — how far awav ! 
Its leaves were wet — though not with dew ; 
The breast that kept, the hand that threw. 
Were those of one who sickened more 
For the sweet breeze of Tyres' shore. 

Eleleu. 



My tale is long. Though bolts of brass 
Heed not their captive's faint upbraiding, 

They melt like wax, they bend like grass. 
At sorrow s touch, when love is aiding ; 

1 Bra-en cities. Brass was a material much used by the Persians 
in their large edifices. The cities alluded to are those on the south 
shore of the Hellespont, under Persian Satraps. 



SCYTHIAX BAXQUET SOXG 95 

The night was dim, the stars were dead, 
The drifting clouds were grey and wide , 

The captive joined me and we fled ; 

Quivering with joy, though cold with dread, 
She shuddered at my side. 

We passed the streets — we gained the gate, 

Where round the wall its watchers wait ; 

Our steps beneath were hushed and slow, — 

For the third time — I met mv foe. 

Eleleu. 



Swift answering as his anger cried, 

Came down the sworded sentinels : 
I dashed their closing spears aside ; 

They thicken, as a torrent swells, 
When tempests feed its mountain source : 

O'er-matched, borne down, with javelins rent, 
I backed them still with fainting force 
Till the life curdled in its course, 

And left my madness innocent. 
The echo of a maiden's shriek 
Mixed with my dreaming long and weak, 
And when I woke, the daybreak fell 
Into a dark and silent cell. 

Eleleu. 



Know ye the price that must atone, 

When power is mocked at by its slave ? 

Know ye the kind of mercy shown, 

When pride condemns, though love would save? 



o6 SCYTHIAN BANQUET SOXG 

A sullen plash was heard that night 

To check the calm of Helle's flow ; 
And there was much of love and light 
Quenched, where the foam-globes moved most 
white, 

With none to save and few to know. 
Me they led forth, at dawn of day, 
To mock, to torture, and to slay ; 
They found my courage calm and mild, 
Until my foe came near, and smiled. 

Eleleu. 



He told me how the midnight chasm 

Of ocean had been sweetly fed ; 
He paled — recoiling, for a spasm 

Came o'er the limbs they deemed were dead 
The earth grew hot — the sky grew black — 

The twisted cords gave way like tow ; 
I felt the branding fetters crack, 
And saw the torturers starting back, 

And more I do not know, 
Until my stretched limbs dashed their way 
Through the cold sea's resulting spray, 
And left me where its surges bore 
Their voices to a lifeless shore. 

Eleleu. 



Mine aged eyes are dim and dry ; 

They have not much to see or mourn, 
Save when, in sleep, pale thoughts pass by — 

My heart is with their footsteps worn 



SCYTHIAX BANQUET SOXG 97 

Into a pathway. Swift and steep 

Their troops pass down it — and I feel not — 
Though they have words would make me weep 
If I could tell their meaning deep — 

But / forget — and they reveal not : 
Oh, lost Elaira ! — when I go 
\Yhere cold hands hold the soundless bow, 
Shall the black earth, all pitiless. 

Forget the early grave 
Of her. whom beauty did not bless, 

Affection could not save ? 

Eieleu. 



Oh, lost Elaira ! long for thee 

Sweet Tyres' banks have blushed in vain 
And blight to them and death to me 

Shall break the link of memory's chain. 
My spirit keeps its lonely lair 

In mouldering life to burn and blacken ; 
The throbs that moved it once are there 
Like winds that stir a dead man's hair, 

Unable to awaken. 
Thy soul on earth supremely smiled, 
In beauty bright, in mercy mild ; 
It looked to love — it breathed to bless — 
It died, and left me — merciless. 

Eieleu. 



And men shrink from me, with no sense 
That the fierce heart they fear and fly, 

Is one whose only evidence 
Of beating is in agony. 

H 



98 SCYTHIAN BAXQUET SOXG 

They know, with me, to match or melt, 

The sword of prayer alike are vain : 
The spirit's presence, half unfelt, 
Half left, — slow withering where it dwelt, 

One precedence of pain. 
All that my victims feel or fear 
Is well avenged by something here ; 
And every curse they breathe on me 
Joins in the deep voice of the sea. 

Eleleu. 



xv 



It rolls — it coils — it foams — it flashes, 

Pale and putrid — ghastly green ; 
Lit with light of dead men's ashes 

Flickering through the black weed's screen. 
Oh ! there, along the breathless land, 

Elaira keeps her couch allotted ; 
The waters wave her weary hand, 
And toss pale shells and ropy sand 

About her dark hair clasped and clotted ; 
The purple isles are bright above 
The frail and moon-blanched bones of love ; 
Their citron breeze is full of bliss — 
Her lips are cool without its kiss. 

Eleleu. 



My thoughts are wandering and weak ; 

Forgive an old man's dotard dreamin< 
I know not, sometimes when I speak, 

Such visions as have quiet seeming. 



SCYTHIAX BAXQUET SOXG 99 

I told you how my madness bore 

My limbs from torture. When I woke, 

I do remember something more 

Of wandering on the wet sea-shore, 
By waving weed and withered rock, 

Calling Elaira, till the name 

Crossed o'er the waters as they came — 

Mildly — to hallow and to bless 

Even what had made it meaningless. 

Eleleu. 



The waves, in answering murmurs mixed, 

Tossed a frail fetter on the sand ; 
Too well I knew whose fingers fixed, 

Whose arm had lost the golden band : 
For such it was, as still confines 

Faint Beauty's arm, who will not listen 
The words of love, — that mockery twines 
To soothe the soul that pants and pines 

Within its rose-encumbered prison. 
The waters freed her ; she who wore 
Fetter or armlet needs no more : 
Could the waves tell, who saw me lift — 
For whom I kept — their glittering gift? 

Eleleu. 

XVIII 

Slow drifts the hour when Patience waits 

Revenge's answering orison ; 
But — one by one, the darkening Fates 

Will draw the balanced axle on, 



ioo SCYTHIAX BANQUET SOXG 

Till torture pays the price of pride, 
And watches wave, with sullen shine, 

The sword of sorrow, justified. 

The long years kept their quiet glide, 

His hour was past : they brought me mine ; 

When, steed to steed, and rank to rank, 

With matched numbers fierce and frank, 

(The war-wolves waiting near to see 

Our battle bright) mv Foe met Me. 

Ha— Hurra ! 



As the tiger tears through the jungle reeds, 

As the west wind breaks through the sharp corn- 
ears, 
As the quick death follows where the lightning leads, 
Did my dark horse bear through the bended 
spears ; 
And the blood came up to my brain like a mist, 

With a dark delight and a fiery feel ; 
For the black darts hailed, and the javelins hissed, 
To the corpses clasped in their tortured twist, 

From mine arms like rain from the red-hot steel. 
Well went the wild horses — well rode their lords — 
Wide waved the sea of their circling swords ; 
But down went the wild steeds — down went the 

sea — 
Down went the dark banners — down went He. 

Ha— Hurra ! 

xx 
For, forward fixed, my frenzy rushed 

To one pale plume of fitful wave ; 
With failing strength, o'er corses crushed, 

My horse obeyed the spurs I gave. 



SCYTHIAX BANQUET SOXG 101 

Slow rolled the tide of battle by, 

And left me on the field alone ; 
Save that a goodly company 
Lay gazing on the bright blue sky, 

All as stiff as stone. 
And the howling wolves came, merry and thick, 
The flesh to tear and the bones to pick : 
I left his carcass, a headless prize, 
To these priests of mine anger's sacrifice. 

Ha— Hurra ! 

XXI 

Hungry they came, though at first they fled 

From the grizzly look of a stranger guest — 
From a horse with its hoof on a dead man's head, 

And a soldier who leaned on a lance in his breast. 
The night wind's voice was hoarse and deep, 

But there were thoughts within me rougher, 
When my foiled passion could not keep 
His eyes from settling into sleep 

That could not see, nor suffer. 
He knew his spirit was delivered 
By the last nerve my sword had severed, 
And lay — his death pang scarcely done, 
Stretched at my mercy — asking none. 

Eleleu. 



His lips were pale. They once had worn 
A fiercer paleness. For awhile 

Their gashes kept the curl of scorn, 
But now — they always smile. 

A life, like that of smouldering ashes, 
Had kept his shadowy eyeballs burning. 



1 02 SCYTHIAX BAXQUET SOXG 

Full through the neck my sabre crashes — 
The black blood burst beneath their lashes 
In the strained sickness of their turning. 
By my bridle-rein did I hang the head, 
And I spurred my horse through the quick and dead, 
Till his hoofs and his hair dropped thick and fresh 
From the black morass of gore and flesh. 

Ha— Hurra S 



My foe had left me little gold 

To mock the stolen food of the grave, 
Except one circlet : I have told 

The arm that lost, the surge that gave. 
Flexile it was, of fairest twist : 

Pressing its sunlike woven line, 
A careless counter had not missed 
One pulse along a maiden's wrist, 

So softly did the clasp confine. 
This — molten till it flowed as free 
As daybreak on the Egean sea, 
He who once clasped — for Love to sever 
And death to lose, received — for ever. 



I poured it round the wrinkled brow, 

Till hissed its cold, corrupted skin ; 
Through sinuous nerves the fiery flow 

Sucked and seared the brain within. 
The brittle bones were well annealed, 

A bull's hide bound the goblet grim, 
Which backwards bended, and revealed 
The dark eye sealed — the set lips peeled : 

Look here ! how I have pardoned him. 



SCYTHIAX BANQUET SOXG 103 

They call it glorious to forgive ; 
'Tis dangerous, among those that live, 
But the dead are daggerless and mild, 
And my foe smiles on me — like a child. 



Fill me the wine ! for daylight fades, 

The evening mists fall cold and blue ; 
My soul is crossed with lonelier shades, 

My brow is damp with darker dew ; 
The earth hath nothing but its bed 

Left more for me to seek, or shun ; 
My rage is passed — my vengeance fed — 
The grass is wet with what I've shed, 

The air is dark with what I've done ; 
And the gray mound, that I have built 
Of intermingled grief and guilt, 
Sits on my breast with sterner seat 
Than my old heart can bear, and beat. 

Eleleu. 

xxvi 
Fill wine ! These fleshless jaws are dry 

And gurgle with the crimson breath ; 
Fill me with wine ! for such as I 

Are meet, methinks, to drink with death. 
Give me the roses ! They shall weave 

One crown for me, and one for him, 
Fresher than his compeers receive, 
Who slumber where the white worms leave 

Their tracks of slime on cheek and limb. 
Kiss me, mine enemy ! Lo ! how it slips, 
The rich red wine through his skeleton lips ; 
His eye-holes glitter, — his loose teeth shake, 
But their words are all drowsy — and will not awake. 



104 SCYTHIAX BAXQUET SOXG 



That lifeless gaze is fixed on me ; 

Those lips would hail a bounden brother ; 
We sit in love, and smile to see 

The things that we have made each other. 
The wreaking of our wrath has reft 

Our souls of all that loved or lightened : 
He knows the heart his hand has left, 
He sees its calm and closeless cleft, 

And / — the bones my vengeance whitened. 
Kiss me, mine enemy ! Fill thee with wine '. 
Be the rlush of thy revelling mingled with mine ; 
Since the hate and the horror we drew with our 

breath 
Are lost in forgiveness, and darken'd in death. 



THE SCYTHIAN GUEST 

(AGE 20) 

When the master of a Scythian family died, he was 
placed in his state chariot, and carried to visit every one 
of his blood-relations. Each of them gave him and his 
attendants a splendid feast, at which the dead man sat 
at the head of the table, and a piece of everything was 
put on his plate. In the morning he continued his cir- 
cuit. This round of visits generally occupied nearly 
forty days, and he was never buried till the whole number 
had elapsed. I have taken him at about six days old, 
when a little phosphoric light might play about his skin 
in the dark, and yet the corruption would not, in a cool 
country, have made anything shapeless or decidedly 
unpleasant. See Herodotus, Melpomene, 73. 



The feast is full, the guests are gay, 

Though at his lance-illumined door 
Still must the anxious master stay ; 

For, by the echoing river shore, 
He hears the hot and hurrying beat 
Of harnessed horses' flying feet, 
And waits to watch and yearns to greet 

The coming of the brave. 
Behold ! like showers of silver sleet, 

His lines of lances wind and wave : 
He comes as he was wont to ride 
By Hypanis' war-troubled tide, 
When, like the west wind's sternest stoop, 



106 THE SCYTHIAX GUEST 

Was the strength of his tempestuous troop, 
And when their dark steeds' shadows swift 
Had crossed the current's foamless drift, 
The light of the river grew dazzled and dim, 
With the flash of the hair and the flight of the limb. 



He comes — urged on by shout and lash, 

His favourite courser flies ; 
There's frenzy in its drooping dash, 

And sorrow in its eyes. 
Close on its hoofs the chariots crash, 
Their shook reins ring — their axles flash — 
The charioteers are wild and rash ; 
Panting and cloven the swift air feels 
The red breath of the whirling wheels, 
Hissing with heat, and drunk with speed 
Of wild delight, that seems to feed 
Upon the fire of its own flying ; 
Yet he for whom they race is lying 
Motionless in his chariot, and still, 
Like one of weak desire or fettered will. 
Is it the sun-lulled sleep of weariness 
That weighs upon him ? Lo ! there is no stress 
Of slumber on his eyelids — some slow trance 
Seems dwelling on the darkness of his glance ; 
Its depth is quiet, and its keenness cold 
As an eagle's quenched with lightning — the close 

fold 
Of his strong arms is listless, like the twine 
Of withered weeds along the waving line 
Of flowing streams ; and o'er his face a strange 
Deep shadow is cast, which doth not move nor 
change. 



THE SCYTHIAX GUEST 107 



At the known gate the coursers check, 

With panting breast and lowly neck : 

From kingly group, from menial crowd, 

The cry of welcome rings aloud : 

It was not wont to be so weak — 

Half a shout and half a shriek. 

Mixed with the low yet penetrating quiver 

Of constrained voices, such as creep 

Into cold words, when, dim and deep 

Beneath, the wild heart's death-like shiver 
Mocks at the message that the lips deliver. 

IV 

Doth he not hear ? Will he not wake ? 
That shout of welcome did not break, 
Even for an instant, on the trace 
Of the dark shadow o'er his face. 
Behold, his slaves in silence lift 
That frame so strong, those limbs so swift, 
Like a sick child's ; though half erect 
He rose when first his chariot checked, 
He fell — as leaves fall on the spot 
Where summer sun shall waken not 
The mingling of their veined sensation 
With the black earth's wormy desolation. 
With stealthy tread, like those that dread 

To break the peace of sorrow's slumber, 
They move, whose martial force he led, 

Whose arms his passive limbs encumber ; 
Through passage and port, through corridor and 

court 
They hold their dark, slow-trodden track : 

Beneath that crouching figure's scowl 



io8 THE SCYTHIAX GUEST 

The household dogs hang wildly back, 

With wrinkled lip and hollow howl ; 
And on the mien of those they meet, 

Their presence passes, like the shadow 
Of the grey storm-cloud's swirling sheet, 

Along some soft sun-lighted meadow ; 
For those who smiled before they met 

Have turned away to smile no more ; 
Even as they pass, their lips forget 
The words they wove — the hues they wore 
Even as they look, the eyes grow wet 

That glanced most bright before ! 



The feast is ranged, the guests are met ; 

High on the central throne 
That dark and voiceless Lord is set, 

And left alone ; 
And the revel is loud among the crowd, 

As the laugh on surges free, 
Of their merry and multitudinous lips, 
When the fiery foamlight skims and skips 

Along the sounding sea. 
The wine is red and wildly shed, 
The wreathed jest is gaily sped, 
And the rush of their merriment rises aloof 
Into the shade of the ringing roof ; 
And yet their cheeks look faint and dead, 

And their lips look pale and dry ; 
In every heart there dwells a dread, 

And a trouble in every eye. 

VI 

For sternly charmed or strangely chill, 
That lonely Lord sits stiff and still, 



THE SCYTHIAX GUEST ioc, 

Far in the chamber gathered back, 

Where the lamps are few and the shadows are black ; 

So that the strained eye scarce can guess 

At the fearful form of his quietness, 

And shrinks from what it cannot trace, 

Yet feels, is worse than even the error 
That veils, within that ghastly space, 
The shrouded form and shadowed face 

Of indistinct, unmoving terror. 
And the life and light of the atmosphere 
Are choked with mingled mist and fear, 
Something half substance and half thought — 
A feeling, visibly inwrought 
Into the texture of the air ; 
And though the fanned lamps flash and flare 
Among the other guests — by Him 
They have grown narrow, and blue, and dim, 
And steady in their fire, as if 
Some frigid horror made them stiff. 
Nor eye hath marked, nor ear hath heard 
That form, if once it breathed or stirred ; 
Though the dark revel's forced fits 
Penetrate where it sleeps and sits ; 
But this, their fevered glances mark 
Ever, for ever, calm and dark ; 
With lifeless hue and changeless trace, 
That shadow dwells upon his face. 



It is not pain, nor passion, but a deep 
Incorporated darkness, like the sleep 
Of the lead-coloured anger of the ocean, 
When the heaven is fed with death, and its grey- 
motion 



no THE SCYTHIAX GUEST 

Over the waves, invisible — it seems 
Entangled with the flesh, till the faint gleams 
Of natural flush have withered like the light 
Of the keen morning, quenched with the close flight 
Of thunder ; and beneath that deadly veil 
The coldness of the under-skin is pale 
And ghastly, and transparent as — beneath 
Some midnight vapour's intertwined wreath — 
Glares the green moonlight ; and a veined fire 
Seems throbbing through it, like a dim desire 
Felt through inanimation, of charmed life 
Struggling with strong sick pants of beaming strife, 
That wither and yet warm not : — through its veins 
The quenched blood beats not, burnt not, but dark 

stains 
Of congealed blackness, on the cheek and brow, 

Lie indistinct amidst their frightful shade ; 
The breathless lips, like two thin flakes of snow, 

Gleam with wan lines, by some past agony made 
To set into the semblance of a smile, 
Such as strong-hearted men wear wildly, while 
Their souls are twined with torture ; calm and fixed, 

And yet distorted, as it could not be 
Had not the chill with which it froze been mixed 

With twitching cords of some strong agony. 
And the white teeth gleam through the ghastly 

chasm 
Of that strange smile ; close clenched, as the last 

spasm 
Of the wrung nerves has knit them ; could they 

move, 
They would gnash themselves to pieces ; from above 
The veiling shadow of the forehead falls, 
Yet, with an under-glare, the fixed balls 
Of the dark eyes gleam steadily, though not 



THE SCYTHIAX GUEST in 

With any inward light or under-thought, 
But casting back from their forgetful trance, 
To each who looks, the flash of his own glance ; 
So that each feels, of all assembled there, 
Fixed on himself, that strange and meaning glare 
Of eyes most motionless ; the long dark hair 
Hangs tangled o'er the faded features' gloom, 
Like withered weeds above a mouldering tomb, 
Matted in black decay ; the cold night air 
Hath stirred them once or twice, even as despair 
Plays with the heart's worn chords, that last retain 
Their sense of sorrow and their pulse of pain. 



Yet strike, oh ! strike the chorded shell, 

And let the notes be low and skilled ; 
Perchance the words he loved so well 

May thrill as once they thrilled. 
That deadened ear may still be true 
To the soft voice that once it knew ; 
And the throbs that beat below the heart, 

And the joys that burn above, 
Shall bid the light of laughter dart 

Along the lips of love. 
Alas ! those tones are all untold 
On ear and heart so closed and cold ; 
The slumber shall be sound — the night — how long ! 
That will not own the power of smile or song ; 
Those lips of love may burn, his eyes are dim ; 
That voice of joy may wake, but not for him. 



The rushing wine, the rose's flush, 

Have crowned the goblet's glancing brim ; 



ii2 THE SCYTHIAN GUEST 

But who shall call the blossom's blush, 

Or bid the goblet flow for him ? 
For how shall thirst or hunger's heat 

Attend the sunless track, 
Towards the cool and calm retreat. 
From which his courser's flashing feet 

Can never bear him back ? 
There, by the cold, corpse-guarded hill, 
The shadows fall both broad and still ; 
There shall they fall at night, — at noon, 

Nor own the daystar's warning ; 
Grey shades, that move not with the moon, 

And perish not with morning. 



Farewell, farewell, thou Presence pale ! 

The bed is stretched where thou shouldst be 
The dawn may lift its crimson veil — 

It doth not breathe, nor burn for thee. 
The mien of might, the glance of light, 

That checked or cheered the war's career, 
Are dreadless in the fiery fight, 

Are dreadful only here. 
Exulting hatred, red and rife, 

May smile to mark thine altered brow ; 
There are but those who loved in life, 

Who fear thee, now. 
Farewell, farewell, thou Presence pale ! 

The couch is near where thou shouldst be ; 
Thy troops of Death have donned their mail,. 
And wait and watch for thee. 



THE BROKEN CHAIN 

(AGE 20) 

PART FIRST 



It is most sad to see — to know 
This world so full of war and woe, 

E'er since our parents' failing duty 
Bequeathed the curse to all below, 

And left the burning breach of beauty. 
Where the flower hath fairest hue, 

Where the breeze hath balmiest breath, 
Where the dawn hath softest dew, 
Where the heaven hath deepest blue, 

There is death. 
Where the gentle streams of thinking, 

Through our hearts that flow so free, 
Have the deepest, softest sinking 

And the fullest melody ; 
Where the crown of hope is nearest, 
Where the voice of joy is clearest, 
Where the heart of youth is lightest, 
Where the light of love is brightest, 

There is death. 

113 j 



ii4 THE DROKEX CHAIX 



It is'the hour when day's delight 

Fadeth in the dewy sorrow 
Of the star-inwoven night ; 
And the red lips of the west 
Are in smiles of lightning drest, 

Speaking of a lovely morrow : 
But there's an eye in which, from far, 
The chill beams of the evening star 

Do softly move and mildly quiver ; 
Which, ere the purple mountains meet 
The light of morning's misty feet, 

Will be dark — and dark for ever. 



It was within a convent old, 

Through her lips the low breath sighing, 
Which the quick pains did unfold 
With a paleness calm, but cold, 

Lay a lovely lady dying. 
As meteors from the sunless north 

Through long, low clouds illume the air, 
So brightly shone her features forth 

Amidst her darkly tangled hair ; 
And, like a spirit, still and slow, 

A light beneath that raven veil 
Moved — where the blood forgot to glow, 
As moonbeams shine on midnight snow, 

So dim — so sad — so pale : 
And, ever as the death came nearer, 
That melancholy light waxed clearer ; 
It rose, it shone, it never dwindled, 

As if in death it could not die ; 



THE BROKEN CHAIN 

The air was filled with it, and kindled 

As souls are by sweet agony. 
Where once the life was rich and red, 
The burning lip was dull and dead, 
As crimson cloud-streaks melt away, 
Before ghastly darkened day. 
Faint and low the pulses faded, 

One by one, from brow and limb ; 
There she lay — her dark eyes shaded 

By her fingers dim ; 
And through their paly brightness burning 

With a wild, inconstant motion, 
As reflected stars of morning 

Through the crystal foam of ocean. 
There she lay — like something holy, 
Moveless — voiceless, breathing slowly, 
Passing, withering, fainting, failing, 
Lulled, and lost, and unbewailing. 



The abbess knelt beside, to bless 
Her parting hour with tenderness, 
And watched the light of life depart, 
With tearful eye and weary heart ; 
And, ever and anon, would dip 

Her fingers in the hallowed water, 
And lay it on her parching lip, 

Or cross her death-damped brow, 
And softly whisper — ' Peace, my daughter, 

For thou shalt slumber softly now.' 
And upward held, with pointing finger, 

The cross before her darkening eye ; 
Its glance was changing, nor did hnger 

Upon the ebon and ivory ; 



1 16 THE B RON EX CHAIN 

Her lips moved feebly, and the air 

Between them whispered — not with prayer ! 

Oh ! who shall know what wild and deep 

Imaginations rouse from sleep, 

Within that heart, whose quick decay 

So soon shall sweep them all away. 

Oh ! who shall know what things they be 

That tongue would tell — that glance doth see 

"Which rouse the voice, the vision fill. 

Ere eve be dark, and tongue be still. 



It is most fearful when the light 

Of thoughts, all beautiful and bright, 

That through the heart's illumination 

Darts burning beams and fiery flashes, 
Fades into weak wan animation, 
And darkens into dust and ashes ; 
And hopes, that to the heart have been 
As to the forest is its green, 

(Or as the gentle passing by 
Of its spirits' azure wings 

Is to the broad, wind-wearied sky ;) 
Do pale themselves like fainting things, 

And wither, one by one, away, 
Leaving a ghastly silence where 

Their voice was wont to move and play 
Amidst the fibres of our feeling, 
Like the low and unseen stealing 

Of the soft and sultry air ; 
That, with its fingers weak, unweaves 

The dark and intertangled hair, 
Of many moving forest-leaves ; 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 117 

And, though their life be lost, do float 

Around us still, yet far remote, 

And come at the same call, arranged 

By the same thoughts ; but oh, how changed ! 

Alas ! dead hopes are fearful things, 

To dwell around us, for their eyes 
Pierce through our souls like adder-stings ; 

Vampyre-like their troops arise, 
Each in his own death entranced, 
Frozen and corpse-countenanced ; 
Filling memory's maddened eye 
With a shadowed mockery, 
And a wan and fevered vision, 
Of her loved and lost Elysian ; 

Until we hail, and love, and bless 
The last, strange joy, where joy hath fled, 
The last one hope, where hope is dead, 

The finger of forgetfulness ; 
Which, dark as night, and dull as lead, 
Comes across the spirit, passing 

Like a coldness through night-air, 
With its withering wings effacing 

Thoughts that lived or lingered there ; 

Light, and life, and joy, and pain, 
Till the frozen heart rejoices, 
As the echoes of lost voices 

Die, and do not rise again ; 
And shadowy memories wake no more 
Along the heart's deserted shore ; 
But fall and faint away, and sicken 
Like a nation fever-stricken, 
And see not, from the bosom reft, 
The desolation thev have left. 



uS THE BROKEN CHAIN 



Yet, though that trance be still and deep, 
It will be broken, ere its sleep 

Be dark and unawaked — for ever ; 
And from the soul quick thoughts will leap 

Forth like a sad, sweet-singing river, 
Whose gentle waves flow softly o'er 
That broken heart — that desert shore ; 
The lamp of life leaps up, before 
Its light be lost, to live no more ; 

Ere yet its shell of clay be shattered. 
And all the beams it once could pour 

In dust of death be darklv scattered. 



Alas ! the stander-by might tell 
That lady's racking thoughts too well ; 
The work within he might descry 
By trembling brow and troubled eye, 
That as the lightning, fiery fierce, 

Strikes chasms along the keen ice-plain, 
The barbed and burning memories pierce 

Her dark and dying brain. 
And many mingled visions swim 
Within the convent-chamber dim ; 
The sad twilight, whose lingering lines 
Fall faintly through the forest pines, 
And with their dusky radiance lume 
That lowly bed and lonely room, 
Are filled, before her earnest gaze, 
With dazzling dreams of bygone days. 
They come — they come — a countless host, 
Forms long unseen, and looks long lost, 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 119 

And voices loved — not well forgot, 
Awake, and seem, with accents dim, 

Along the convent air to float ; 

That innocent air, that knoweth not 
A sound, except the vesper hymn. 



'Tis past — that rush of hurried thought — 
The light within her deep, dark eye 
Was quenched by a wan tear, mistily, 
Which trembled, though it lightened not, 
As the cold peace, which all may share, 
Soothed the last sorrow life could bear. 
What grief was that — the broken heart 
Loved to the last, and would not part ? 
What grief was that, whose calmness cold 
By death alone could be consoled ? 
As the soft hand of coming rest 
Bowed her fair head upon her breast, 
As the last pulse decayed, to keep 
Her heart from heaving in its sleep, 
The silence of her voice was broken, 

As by a gasp of mental pain : 
' May the faith thou hast forgotten 
Bind thee with its broken chain.' 
The Abbess raised her, but in vain ; 

For, as the last faint word was spoken, 
The silver cord was burst in twain, 
The golden bowl was broken. 



THE DRONES' CHATS' 



PART SECOS'D 



The bell from Saint Cecilia's shrine 

Had tolled the evening hour of prayer ; 
With tremulation far and fine, 

It waked the purple air : 
The peasant heard its distant beat, 
And crossed his brow with reverence meet : 
The maiden heard it sinking sweet 

Within her jasmine bower, 
And treading down, with silver feet. 

Each pale and passioned flower : 
The weary pilgrim, lowly lying 

By Saint Cecilia's fountain grey, 
Smiled to hear that curfew dying 

Down the darkening day : 
And where the white waves move and glisten 

Along the river's reedy shore, 
The lonely boatman stood to listen, 

Leaning on his lazy oar. 



On Saint Cecilia's vocal spire 

The sun had cast his latest fire, 

And necked the west with many a fold 

Of purple clouds o'er bars of gold. 

That vocal spire is all alone, 

Albeit its many winding tone 

Floats waste away — oh ! far away, 

Where bowers are bright and fields are gay 



THE BROKEX CHAIX 

That vocal spire is all alone, 

Amidst a secret wilderness, 
With deep, free forest overgrown ; 

And purple mountains, which the kiss 
Of pale-lipped clouds doth fill with love 
Of the bright heaven that burns above : 
The woods around are wild and wide, 

And interwove with breezy motion ; 
Their bend before the tempest-tide 

Is like the surge of shoreless ocean ; 
Their summer voice is like the tread 
Of trooping steeds to battle bred ; 
Their autumn voice is like the cry 
Of a nation clothed with misery ; 
And the stillness of the winter's wood 
Is as the hush of a multitude. 



The banks beneath are flecked with light. 
All through the clear and crystal night ; 
For as the blue heaven, rolling on, 
Doth hft the stars up one by one, 
Each, like a bright eye through its gates 

Of silken lashes dark and long, 
With lustre fills, and penetrates. 

Those branches close and strong ; 
And nets of tangled radiance weaves 
Between the many-twinkling leaves, 

And through each small and verdant chasm 
Lets fall a flake of fire, 

Till every leaf, with voiceless spasm, 
Wakes like a golden lyre. 

Swift, though still, "the fiery thrill 
Creeps along from spray to spray, 



122 THE BROKEX CHAIN 

Light and music, mingled, fill 
Even- pulse of passioned breath, 
Which, o'er the incense-sickened death 
Of the faint flowers, that live by day, 
Floats like a soul above the clay, 
Whose beauty hath not passed away. 



Hark ! hark ! along the twisted roof 
Of bough and leafage, tempest-proof, 

There whispers, hushed and hollow, 
The beating of a horse's hoof, 

Which low, faint echoes follow, 
Down the deeply-swarded floor 

Of a forest aisle ; the muffled tread, 

Hissing where the leaves are dead, 
Increases more and more ; 
And lo ! between the leaves and light, 

Up the avenue's narrow span, 
There moves a blackness, shaped like 

The shadow of a man. 
Nearer now, where through the maze 
Cleave close the horizontal rays : 
It moves — a solitary knight, 
Borne with undulation light 

As is the windless walk of ocean, 
On a black steed's Arabian grace, 
Mighty of mien, and proud of pace, 

But modulate of motion. 
O'er breast and limb, from head to heel, 
Fall flexile folds of sable steel ; 
Little the lightning of war could avail, 
If it glanced on the strength of the folded mail 

The beaver bars his visage mask, 



THE BROKEN CHAIN 123 

By outward bearings unrevealed ; 

He bears no crest upon his casque, 
No symbol on his shield. 

Slowly, and with slackened rein, 

Either in sorrow, or in pain, 
Through the forest he paces on, 

As our life does in a desolate dream, 
When the heart and limbs are as heavy as stone, 

And the remembered tone and moony gleam 
Of hushed voices, and dead eyes. 
Draw us on the dim path of shadowy destinies. 



The vesper chime hath ceased to beat, 
And the hill-echoes to repeat 

The trembling of the argent bell. 
What second sounding — dead and deep, 
And cold of cadence — stirs the sleep 

Of twilight with its sullen swell ? 
The knight drew bridle, as he beard 
Its voice creep through his beaver barred, 
Just where a cross of marble stood, 
Grey in the shadow of the wood, 
WTiose youngest coppice, twined and torn, 
Concealed its access worship-worn : 
It might be chance — it might be art, 

Or opportune, or unconfessed, 
But from this cross there did depart 

A pathway to the west ; 
By which a narrow glance was given, 
To the high hills and highest heaven, 
To the blue river's bended line, 
And Saint Cecilia's lonely shrine. 



I2 4 THE BROKEX CHAIX 



Blue, and baseless, and beautiful, 

Did the boundless mountains bear 

Their folded shadows into the golden air. 
The comfortlessness of their chasms was full 
Of orient cloud and undulating mist, 
Which, where their silver cataracts hissed, 
Quivered with panting colour. Far above 
A lightning pulse of soundless fire did move 
In the blue heaven itself, and, snake-like, slid 
Round peak, and precipice, and pyramid ; 
White lines of light along their crags alit, 
And the cold lips of their chasms were wreathed 

with it, 
Until they smiled with passionate fire ; the sky 
Hung over them with answering ecstasy : 
Through its pale veins of cloud, like blushing blood, 
From south to north the swift pulsation glowed 
With infinite emotion ; but it ceased 

In the far chambers of the dewy west. 
There the weak day stood withering, like a spirit 

Which, in its dim departure, turns to bless 
Their sorrow whom it leaveth to inherit 
Their lonely lot of night and nothingness. 

Keen in its edge, against the farthest light, 
The cold, calm earth its black horizon lifted, 

Though a faint vapour, which the winds had 
sifted 

Like thin sea-sand, in undulations white 
And multitudinous, veiled the lower stars. 
And over this there hung successive bars 
Of crimson mist, which had no visible ending 

But in the eastern gloom ; voiceless and still, 
Illimitable in their arched extending, 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 125 

They kept their dwelling-place in heaven ; the 
'chill 
Of the passing night-wind stirred them not ; the 
ascending 

Of the keen summer moon was marked by them 
Into successive steps ; the plenitude 
Of pensive light was kindled and subdued 

Alternate, as her crescent keel did stem 
Those waves of currentless cloud ; the diadem 

Of her companion planet near her, shed 
Keen quenchless splendour down the drowsy air ; 

Glowed as she glowed, and followed where she 
led, 
High up the hill of the night heaven, where 
Thin threads of darkness, braided like black hair, 

Were in long trembling tresses interwoven. 
The soft blue eyes of the superior deep 
Looked through them, with the glance of those who 
cannot weep 

For sorrow. Here and there the veil was cloven, 
By crossing of faint winds, whose wings did keep 
Such cadence as the breath of dreamless sleep 
Among the stars, and soothed, with strange 

delight, 
The vain vacuitv of the Infinite. 



Stiff as stone, and still as death, 
Stood the knight like one amazed, 

And dropped his rein, and held his breath. 
So anxiously he gazed. 

Oh ! well might such a scene and sun 
Surprise the sudden sight ; 



126 THE BROKEX CHAIX 

And yet his mien was more of one 

In dread than in delight. 
His glance was not on heaven or hill, 
On cloud or lightning, swift or still, 

On azure earth or orient air ; 
But long his fixed look did lie 
On one bright line of western sky — 

What saw he there ? 

VIII 

On the brow of a lordly line 

Of chasm-divided crag, there stood 
The walls of Saint Cecilia's shrine. 

Above the undulating wood 
Broad, basalt bulwarks, stern and stiff, 
Ribbed, like black bones, the grisly cliff. 
On the torn summit stretched away 
The convent walls, tall, old, and grey ; 
So strong their ancient size did seem, 

So stern their mountain-seat, 
Well might the passing pilgrim deem 

Such desperate dwelling-place more meet 
For soldier true, or baron bold, 
For army's guard, or bandit's hold, 
Than for the rest, deep, calm, and cold, 
Of those whose tale of troublous life is told. 



The topmost tower rose narrow and tall, 
O'er the broad mass of crag and wall ; 
Against the streak of western light 
It raised its solitary height. 
Just above, nor far aloof, 
From the cross upon its roof, 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 

Sat a silver star. 

The low clouds drifting fast and far, 

Gave, bv their own mocking loss, 

Motion to the star and cross. 

Even the black tower was stirred below 

To join the dim, mysterious march, 
The march so strangely slow. 

Near its top, an opening arch 
Let through a passage of pale sky- 
Enclosed with stern captivity ; 
And in its hollow height there hung, 
From a black bar, a brazen bell : 
Its hugeness was traced clear and well 
The slanting rays among. 
Ever and anon it swung 
Half-way round its whirling wheel ; 
Back again, with rocking reel, 
Lazily its length was flung, 
Till brazen lip and beating tongue 
Met once, with unrepeated peal — 
Then paused ; — until the winds could feel 

The weight of the wide sound, that cluns 
To their inmost spirit, like the appeal 

Of startling memories, strangely strung, 
That point to pain, and yet conceal. 

Again with single sway it rung, 
And the black tower beneath could feel 
The undulating tremor steal 

Through its old stones, with long shiver. 

The wild woods felt it creep and quiver 
Through their thick leaves and hushed air, 
As fear creeps through a murderer's hair. 

And the grey reeds beside the river, 
In the moonlight meek and mild, 
Moved like spears when war is wild. 



THE BROKEX CHAIX 



And still the knight, like statue, stood 
In the arched opening of the wood. 
Slowly still the brazen bell 
Marked its modulated knell ; 
Heavily, heavily, one by one, 
The dull strokes gave their thunder-tone. 
So long the pause between was led, 
Ere one rose the last was dead — 
Dead and lost by hollow and hill. 
Again, again, it gathered still. 
Ye who hear, peasant or peer, 
By all you hope and all you fear, 

Lowly now be heart and knee, 
Meekly be your orison said 

For the body in its agony, 
And the spirit in its dread. 



Reverent as a cowled monk 
The knight before the cross had sunk ; 
Just as he bowed his helmless head, 
Twice the bell struck faint and dead, 
And ceased. Hill, valley, and winding shore 
The rising roll received no more. 
His lips were weak, his words were low, 
A paleness came across his brow ; 
He started to his feet, in fear 
Of something that he seemed to hear. 
Was it the west wind that did feign 
Articulation strange and vain ? 
Vainly with thine ear thou warrest : 
Lo ! it comes, it comes again ! 



THE BROKEN CHAIN 129 

Through the dimly woven forest 

Comes the cry of one in pain — 
1 May the faith thou hast forgotten 

Bind thee with its broken chain.' 



PART THIRD 



On grey Amboise's rocks and keep 
The early shades of evening sleep, 
And veils of mist, white-folded, fall 
Round his long range of iron wall ; 
O'er the last line of withering light 
The quick bats cut with angled flight, 
And the low breathing fawns that rest 

The twilight forest through, 
Each on his starry flank and stainless breast, 

Can feel the coolness of the dew 
Soothing his sleep with heavenly weight : 
Who are those who tread so late 
Beyond Amboise's castle gate, 

And seek the garden shade ? 
The flowers are closed, the paths are dark, 
Their marble guards look stern and stark, 
The birds are still, the leaves are stayed, 
On windless bough, and sunless glade. 
Ah ! who are these that walk so late, 
Beyond Amboise's castle gate ? 



Steep down the river's margin sink 
The gardens of Amboise, 



130 THE BROKEN CHAIN 

And all their inmost thickets drink 

The wide low water-voice, 
By many a bank whose blossoms shrink 

Amidst sweet herbage young and cold, 
Through many an arch and avenue, 
That noontide roofs with chequered blue, 

And paves with fluctuating gold, 
Pierced by a thousand paths that guide 
Grey echo-haunted rocks beside ; 
And into caves of cool recess, 
Which ever-falling fountains dress 
With emerald veils, dashed deep in dew ; 
And through dim thickets that subdue 

The crimson light of flowers afar, 
As sweet rain doth the sunset, decked 

Themselves with many a living star, 
"Which music-winged bees detect 
By the white rays and ceaseless odour shed 
Over the scattered leaves that every day lays 
dead. 



But who are these who pass so late 
Beneath Amboise's echoing gate, 
And seek the sweet path, poplar-shaded, 
By breeze and moonbeam uninvaded ? 
They are two forms that move like one, 

Each to the music of the other's lips, 
The cold night thrilling with the tone 

Of their low words — the grey eclipse, 
Cast from the tangled boughs above, 
Their dark eyes penetrate with love ; 

Two forms — one crested, calm, and proud, 
Yet with bowed head and gentle ear inclining 



THE BROKEX CHAIX 131 

To her who moves as in a sable cloud 
Of her own waving hair — the star-flowers shin- 
ing 
Through its soft waves, hke planets when 
they keep 
Reflected watch beneath the sunless deep. 



Her brow is pure and pale, her eyes 

Deep as the unfathomed sky ; 
Her lips, from which the sweet words rise 
Like flames from incensed sacrifice, 
Quiver with untold thoughts, that lie 
Burning beneath their crimson glow, 
As mute and deathless lightnings sleep 
At sunset, where the dyes are deep 

On Rosa's purple snow ; 
She moves all beautiful and bright, 
With little in that form of light 
To set the seal of mortal birth, 
Or own her earthy — of the earth, 
Unless it be one strange, quick trace, 
That checks the glory of her face — 
A wayward meaning, dimly shed, 
A shadow, scarcely felt ere fled ; 
A spot upon the brow, a spark 
Under those eyes subdued and dark ; 
A low, short discord in the tone 
Of music round her being thrown ; 
A mystery, more conceived than seen ; 
A wildness of the word and mien ; 
The sign of wilder work within, 
Which may be sorrow — must be sin. 



132 THE BROKEX CHAIX 



Slowly they moved, that knight and dame, 
Where hanging thickets quench and tame 

The river's flash and cry ; 
Mellowed among the leafage came 
Its thunder-voice — its flakes of flame 

Drifted undisturbing by, 

Sunk to a twilight and a sigh. 
Their path was o'er the entangled rest 

Of dark night-flowers that underneath 
Their feet, as their dim bells were pressed, 

Sent up warm pulses of soft breath. 
Ranged in sepulchral ranks above, 
Grev spires of shadowy cypress clove, 
With many a shaft of sacred gloom, 
The evening heavens' mysterious dome ; 
Slowly above their columns keen 
Rolled on its path that starred serene ; 
A thousand fountains' soundless flow, 
With imaged azure, moved below ; 
And through the grove, and o'er the tide, 
Pale forms appeared to watch, to glide, 
O'er whose faint limbs the evening sky 
Had cast like life its crimson-dye ; 
Was it not life — so bright — so weak — 
That flushed the bloodless brow and cheek, 
And bade the lips of wreathed stone 
Kindle to all but breath and tone ? 
It moved — it heaved — that stainless breast ! 
Ah ! what can break such marble rest ? 
It was a shade that passed — a shade 
It was not bird nor bough that made, 
Nor dancing leaf, nor falling fruit ; 



THE BROKE X CHAIN 133 

For where it moves — that shadow, grey and 
chill— 
The birds are lulled — the leaves are mute — 
The air is cold and still. 



Slowly they moved, that dame and knight, 
As one by one the stars grew bright ; 
Fondly they moved — they did not mark 
They had a follower strange and dark. 
Just where the leaves their feet disturbed 

Sunk from their whispering tune, 
(It seemed beneath a fear that curbed 

Their motion very soon,) 
A shadow fell upon them, cast 
By a less visible form that passed 

Between them and the moon. 
Was it a fountain's falling shiver ? 

It moveth on — it will not stay — 
Was it a mist-wreath of the river ? 

The mist hath melted all away, 
And the risen moon is full and clear, 
And the moving shadow is marked and near. 
See ! where the dead leaves felt it pass. 
There are footsteps left on the bended grass 
Footsteps as of an armed heel, 
Heavy with links of burning steel. 



Fondly they moved, that dame and knight.. 

By the gliding river's billow light ; 
Their lips were mute, their hands were given. 

Their hearts did hardlv stir ; 



154 THE BROKEX CHAIX 

The maid had raised her eyes to heaven, 

But his were fallen on her. 
They did not heed, they did not fear 
That follower strange that trod so near, 
An armed form whose cloudy mail 
Flashed as it moved with radiance pale ; 
So gleams the moonlit torrent through 
Its glacier's deep, transparent blue ; 
Quivering and keen, its steps of pride 
Shook the sheathed lightning at his side, 
And waved its dark and drifted plume, 
Like fires that haunt the unholy tomb, 
Where, cursed with crime, the mouldering dead 
Lie restless in their robes of lead. 
What eye shall seek, what soul can trace 
The deep death-horror of its face ? — 
The trackless livid smile that played 
Beneath the casque's concealing shade, 
The angered eye's unfathomed glare, 
(So sleep the fountains of despair 
Beneath the soul whose sins unseal 
The wells of all it fears to feel.) 
The sunk, unseen, all-seeing gloom. 
Scarred with the ravage of the tomb, 
The passions that made life their prey, 
Fixed on the feature's last decay, 
The pangs that made the human heart their 

slave, 
Frozen on the changeless aspect of the grave. 



And still it followed where they went, 
That unregarding pair ; 



THE BROKEX CHAIN 135 

It kept on them its eyes intent, 

And from their glance the sickened air 
Shrank, as if tortured. Slow — how slow 

The knight and lady trod ! 
You had heard their hearts beat just as loud 

As their footsteps on the sod. 
They paused at length in a leafless place 
Where the moonlight shone on the maiden's 

face ; 
Still as an image of stone she stood, 
Though the heave of her breath and the beat 

of her blood 
Murmured and mantled to and fro, 
Like the billows that heave on a hill of snow, 
When the midnight winds are short and Low. 
The words of her lover came burning and deep, 

And his hand was raised to the holy sky : 
Can the lamps of the universe bear or keep 

False witness or record on high ? 
He starts to his feet from the spot where he 

knelt— 
What voice hath he heard, what fear hath he 

felt ? 
His lips in their silence are bloodless and dry, 
And the love-light fails from his glazed eye. 



Well might he quail, for full displayed 
Before him rose that dreadful shade, 
And o'er his mute and trembling trance 
Waved its pale crest and quivering lance 
And traced, with pangs of sudden pain, 
The form of words upon his brain : 



136 THE BROKEN CHAIX 

' Thy vows are deep ; but still thou bear'st the 

chain, 
Cast on thee by a deeper — vowed in vain ; 
Thy love is fair ; but fairer forms are laid, 
Cold and forgotten, in the cypress shade ; 
Thy arm is strong ; but arms of stronger trust, 
Repose unnerved, undreaded, in the dust ; 
Around thy lance shall bend the living brave, 
Then, arm thee for the challenge of the grave.' 



The sound had ceased, the shape had passed 

away, 
Silent the air, and pure the planet's ray. 
Thev stood beneath the lonely breathing night, 
The lovely lady and the lofty knight ; 
He moved in shuddering silence by her side, 
Or wild and wandering to her words replied, 
Shunning her anxious eyes, on his that bent : 
' Thou didst not see it — 'twas to me 'twas sent. 
To me — but why to me ? — I knew it not — 
It was no dream — it stood upon the spot, 
Where ' — Then, with lighter tone and bitter 

smile, 
' Nothing, beloved — a pang that did beguile 
My spirit of its strength — a dream — a thought — 
A fancy of the night.' And though she sought 
More reason of his dread, he heard her not, 
For, mingling with those words of phantom fear, 
There was another echo in his ear, 
An under-murmur deep and clear, 

The faint low sob of one in pain : 

' May the faith thou hast forgotten 

Bind thee with its broken chain.' 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 13; 



PART FOURTH 



'Tis morn ! — in clustered rays increased — 

Exulting rays, that deeply drink 
The starlight of the east, 

And strew with crocus dyes the brink 
Of those blue streams that pause and sink 
Far underneath their heavenly strand — 
Soft capes of vapour, ribbed like sand. 
Along the Loire white sails are flashing, 
Through stars of spray their dark oars dashing 
The rocks are reddening one by one, 
The purple sandbanks flushed with sun, 
And crowned with hre on crags and keep. 
Amboise ! above thy lifted steep, 
Far lightening o'er the subject vale, 
Blaze thy broad range of ramparts pale ! 
Through distance azure as the sky, 
That vale sends up its morning cry, 
From countless leaves, that shaking shade 
Its tangled paths of pillared glade, 
And ceaseless fan, with quivering cool, 
Each gentle stream and slumbrous pool, 
That catch the leaf-song as they flow, 
In tinkling echo pure and low, 
Clear, deep, and moving, as the night, 
And starred with orbs of lily light. 
Nor are they leaves alone that sing, 

Nor waves alone that flow ; 
The leaves are lifted on the wing 
Of voices from below ; 



133 THE BROKEX CHAIN 

The waters keep, with shade subdued, 
The image of a multitude — 

A merry crowd promiscuous met, 
Of every age and heart united — 

Grey hairs with golden twined, and yet 
With equal mien and eyes delighted ; 
With thoughts that mix, and hands that lock, 
Behold they tread, with hurrying feet, 
Along the thousand paths that meet 

Beneath Amboise's rock ; 
For there, upon the meadows wide, 
That couch along the river-side, 

Are pitched a snowy flock 
Of warrior tents, like clouds that rest, 
Through champaigns of the quiet west, 
When, far in distance, stretched serene, 
The evening sky lies calm and green. 
Amboise's lord must bear to-day 
His love-gage through the rival fray ; 
Through all the coasts of fiery France 

His challenge shook the air, 
That none could break so true a lance, 

Xor for a dame so fair. 



The lists are circled round with shields, 

Like lily-leaves that lie 
On forest pools in clustered fields 

Of countless company. 
But every buckler's bosses black 
Dash the full beams of morning back, 
In orbed wave of welded lines, 
With mingled blaze of crimson signs, 

And light of lineage high : 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 139 

As sounds that gush when thoughts are strong, 

But words are weak with tears, 
Awoke, above the warrior throng, 

The wind among the spears ; 
Afar in hollow surge they shook. 
As reeds along some summer brook, 
Glancing beneath the July moon, 
All bowed and touched in pleasant tune ; 
Their steely lightning passed and played 
Alternate with the cloudy shade 
Of crested casques, and flying flakes 
Of horse-manes, twined like sable snakes, 
And misty plumes in darkness drifted, 
And charged banners broadly lifted, 
Purpling the air with storm-tints cast 
Down through their undulation vast, 
Wide the billowy army strewing, 

Like to flags of victory 
From some wrecked armada's ruin, 
Left to robe the sea. 



As the morning star new risen 

In a circle of calm sky, 
Where the white clouds stand to listen 

For the sphered melody 
Of her planetary path, 
And her soft rays pierce the wrath 
Of the night-storms stretched below, 
Till they sink like wreaths of snow, 
(Lighting heaven with their decay) 

Into sudden silentness — 

Throned above the stormv stress 



140 THE BROKEN CHAIN 

Of that knightly host's array, 

Goddess-formed, as one whom mortals 
Need but gaze on to obey, 

Distant seen, as through the portals 
Of some temple grey ; 

The glory of a marble dream, 
Kindly the eyes that gaze, the lips that pray 

One gentle lady sat, retiring but supreme. 



Upon her brow there was no crown, 

Upon her robe no gem ; 
Yet few were there who would not own 

Her queen of earth, and them, 
Because that brow was crowned with light 

As with a diadem, 
And her quick thoughts, as they did rise, 
Were in the deep change of her eyes 

Traced one by one, as stars that start 
Out of the orbed peace of night, 

Still drooping as they dart ; 
And her sweet limbs shone heavenly bright, 
Following, with undulation white, 

The heaving of her heart. 

High she sat, and all apart, 
Meek of mien, with eyes declined, 
Less like one of mortal mind, 
Than some changeless spirit shrined 

In the memories of men, 
Whom the passions of its kind 

Cannot hurt nor move again. 



THE BROKEX CHAIX 141 



High she sat, in meekness shaming 

All of best and brightest there, 
Till the herald's voice, proclaiming 

Her the fairest of the fair, 

Rang along the morning air ; 
And then she started, and that shade, 
Which in the moonlit garden glade 
Had marked her with its mortal stain, 
Did pass upon her face again ; 
And in her eye a sudden flash 
Came and was gone ; but it were rash 
To say if it were pride or pain ; 
And on her lips a smile, scarce worn, 
Less, as it seemed, of joy than scorn, 
Was with a strange, quick quivering mixed, 
Which passed, and left them fixed 
In calm, persisting, colourless, 
Perchance too perfect to be peace. 
A moment more, and still serene 
Returned, yet changed — her mood and mien 
What eye that traceless change could tell, 
Slight, transient — but unspeakable ? 
She sat, divine of soul and brow ; 
It passed — and all is human now. 



The multitude, with loud acclaim, 
Caught up the lovely lady's name ; 
Thrice round the lists arose the cry ; 
But when it sank, and all the sky 
Grew doubly silent by its loss, 
A slow, strange murmur came across 



142 THE BROKEX CHAIN 

The waves of the reposing air — 
A deep, soft voice, that everywhere 
Arose at once, so lowly clear, 
That each seemed in himself to hear 
Alone ; and, fixed with sweet surprise, 
Did ask around him, with his eyes, 
If t'were not some dream-music dim 
And false, that only rose for him. 



4 Oh, lady Queen ! — Oh, lady Queen t 

Fairest of all who tread 
The soft earth's carpet green, 

Or breathe the blessings shed 

By the stars and tempest free ; 
Know thou, oh, lady Queen, 
Earth hath borne, sun hath seen 

Fairer than thee. 

' The flush of beauty burneth 

In the palaces of earth, 
But thy lifted spirit scorneth 

All match of mortal birth : 
And the nymph of the hill, 

And the naiad of the sea, 
Were of beauty quenched and chill, 

Beside thee ! 

1 Where the grey cypress shadows 
Move onward with the moon 
Round the low mounded meadows, 

And the gravestones, whitely hewn, 
Gleam like camp-fires through the night, 

There — in silence of long swoon, 

In the horror of decav ; 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 143 

With the worm for their delight, 

And the shroud for their array ; 
With the garland on their brow, 

And the black cross by their side ; 
With the darkness for their beauty, 

And the dust for their pride ; 
With the smile of baffled pain 

On the cold lips half-apart ; 
With the dimness on the brain, 

And the peace upon the heart ; 
Ever sunk in solemn shade, 

Underneath the cypress tree, 
Lady Queen, there are laid 

Fairer than thee ! ' 



It passed away, that melodie, 
But none the minstrel there could see ; 
The lady sat still calm of thought, 
Save that there rose a narrow spot 

Of crimson on her cheek ; 
But then, the words were far and weak — 
Perchance she heard them not. 
The crowd, still listening, feared to speak, 
And only mixed in sympathy 
Of pressing hand and wondering eye, 

And left the lists all hushed and mute, 
For every wind of heaven had sunk 

To that aerial lute. 
The ponderous banners, closed and shrunk, 
Down from their listless lances hung, 
The windless plumes were feebly flung ; 
With lifted foot, the listening steed 

Did scarcely fret the fern ; 



144 THE BROKE N CHAIS 

And the challenger on his charmed steed 

Sat statue-like and stern ; 
Till, mixed with martial trumpet-strain, 
The herald's voice arose again, 
Proclaiming that Amboise's lord 
Dared, by the trial of the sword, 
The bravest knights of France to prove 
Their fairer dame or truer love : — 
And, ere the brazen blast had died, 
That strange, sweet singing voice replied, 
So wild, that every heart did keep 
Its pulse to time and cadence deep : — 



' Where the purple swords are swiftest, 
And the rage of death unreined, 

Lord of battle, though thou liftest 

Crest unstooped, and shield unstained, 

— Vain before thy footsteps fail 

Useless spear and rended mail ; 

— Shuddering from thy glance and blow, 

Earth's best armies sink like snow ; 

Know thou this : unmatched, unmet, 

Xight hath children mightier yet. 

' The chapel vaults are deadly damp, 

Their air is breathless all ; 
The downy bats they clasp and cramp 

Their cold wings to the wall ; 
The bright-eyed eft, from cranny and cleft, 

Doth noiselessly pursue 
The twining light of the death-worms white, 

In the pools of the earth-dew ; 



THE BROKEX CHAIN 145 

The downy bat, — the death-worm white, — 

And the eft with its sable coil — 
They are company good for a sworded knight, 

In his rest from the battle-toil ; 
The sworded knight is sunk in rest, 

With the cross-hilt in his hand ? 
But his arms are folded o'er his breast 

As weak as ropes of sand. 
His eyes are dark, his sword of wrath 

Is impotent and dim ; 
Dark lord ! in this thy victor path, 

Remember him.' 



The sounds sunk deeply — and were gone ; 

And, for a time, the quiet crowd 
Hung on the long departing tone, 

Of wailing in the morning cloud, 
In spirit wondering and beguiled ; 

Then turned, with steadfast gaze, to learn 
What recked he, of such warning wild — 

Amboise's champion stern. 
But little to their sight betrayed 
The visor bars and plumage shade ; 
The nearest thought he smiled — 
Yet more in bitterness than mirth — 
And held his eyes upon the earth 
With thoughtful gaze, half sad, half keen, 
As they would seek, beneath the screen 
Or living turf and golden bloom, 
The secrets of its under- tomb. 

XI 

A moment more, with burning look 
High in the air his plume he shook, 

L 



146 THE BROKEX CHAIN 

And waved his lance as in disdain, 
And struck his charger with the rein, 
And loosed the sword-hilt to his grasp, 
And closed the visor's grisly clasp, 
And all expectant sate and still ; 
The herald blew his summons shrill : 
Keen answer rose from list and tent, 
For France had there her bravest sent, 
With hearts of steel, and eyes of flame, 
Full armed the knightly concourse came ; 
They came like storms of heaven set free, 
They came like surges of the sea, 

Resistless, dark and dense : 
Like surges on a sable rock, 
They fell with their own fiery shock, 

Dashed into impotence. 
O'er each encounter's rush and gloom, 
Like meteor rose Amboise's plume ; 
As stubble to his calm career 
Crashed from his breast the splintered spear 
Before his charge the war-horse reeled, 
And bowed the helm, and sank the shield, 
And checked the heart, and failed the arm ; 
And still the herald's loud alarm 

Disturbed the short delay — 
' On, chevaliers ! for fame, for love — 
For these dark eyes that burn above 

The field of your affray ! ' 



Six knights had fallen, the last in death — 
Deeply the challenger drew his breath. 
The field was hushed — the wind that rocked 
His standard staff grew light and low. 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 147 

A seventh came not. He unlocked 

His visor-clasp, and raised his brow 
To catch its coolness. Marvel not 
If it were pale with weariness, 
For fast that day his hand had wrought 

Its warrior-work of victory ; 
Yet, one who loved him might have thought 

There was a trouble in his eye, 
And that it turned in some distress 

Unto the quiet sky. 
Indeed, that sky was strangely still, 
And through the air unwonted chill 

Hung on the heat of noon ; 
Men spoke in whispers, and their words 
Came brokenly, as if the chords 

Of their hearts were out of tune ; 
And deeper still, and yet more deep 
The coldness of that heavy sleep 
Came on the lulled air. And men saw, 
In every glance, an answering awe 
Meeting their own with doubtful change 
Of expectation wild and strange. 
Dread marvel was it thus to feel 
The echoing earth, the trumpet-peal, 
The thundering hoof, the crashing steel, 

Cease to a pause so dead ; 
They heard the aspens' moaning shiver, 
And the low tinkling of the river 

Upon its pebble bed. 
The challenger's trump rang long and loud, 
And the light upon his standard proud 

Grew indistinct and dun ; 
The challenger's trump rang long and loud, 
And the shadow of a narrow cloud 

Came suddenlv o'er the sun : 



148 THE BROKEN CHAIX 



A narrow cloud of outline quaint, 

Much like a human hand ; 
And after it, with following faint 

Came up a dull, grey, lengthening ban 1 

Of small cloud-billows, like sea-sand, 
And then, out of the gaps of blue, 
Left moveless in the sky, there grew 
Long snaky knots of sable mist, 
Which counter-winds did vex and twist, 
Knitted and loosed, and tossed and tore, 
Like passive weeds on that sandy shore ; 
And these seemed with their touch to infect 
The sweet, white upper clouds, and checked 
Their pacing on the heavenly floor, 

And quenched the light which was to them 
As blood and life, singing the while 

A fitful requiem ; 
Until the hues of each cloud-isle 

Sank into one vast veil of dread, 

Coping the heaven as if with lead, 
With dragged, pale edges here and there. 
Through which the moon's transparent glare 

Fell with a dusky red. 
And all the summer voices sank 

To let that darkness pass ; 
The weeds were quiet on the bank, 

The cricket in the grass ; 
The merry birds, the buzzing flies, 

The leaves of many lips, 
Did make their songs a sacrifice 

Unto the noon-eclipse. 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 149 



The challenger's trump rang long and loud — 

Hark, as its notes decay ! 
Was it out of the earth — or up in the cloud ?- 

Or an echo far away ? 
Soft it came, and none knew whence — 
Deep, melodious, and intense, 

So lightly breathed, so wildly blown, 
Distant it seemed — yet everywhere 
Possessing all the infinite air — 

One quivering trumpet-tone ! 
With slow increase of gathering sway, 
Louder along the wind it lay ; 
It shook the woods, it pressed the wave, 
The guarding rocks through chasm and cave 
Roared in their fierce reply. 

It rose, and o'er the lists at length 

Crashed into full tempestuous strength, 
Shook through its storm-tried turrets high 

Amboise's mountain home, 
And the broad thunder-vaulted sky 

Clanged like a brazen dome. 



Unchanged, unchilled in heart and eye, 
The challenger heard that dread reply ; 
His head was bowed upon his breast, 
And on the darkness in the west 
His glance dwelt patiently ; 
Out of that western gloom there came 
A small white vapour, shaped like flame, 
Unscattering, and on constant wing 
Rode lonely, like a living thing, 
Upon its stormy path ; it grew, 



150 THE BROKE X CHAIX 

And gathered as it onward drew — 

It paused above the lists, a roof 
Inwoven with a lightning woof 
Of undulating fire, whose trace, 
Like corpse-fire on a human face, 
Was mixed of light and death ; it sank 
Slowly ; the wild war-horses shrank 

Tame from the nearing flash ; their eyes 
Glared the blue terror back ; it shone 
On the broad spears, like wavering wan 

Of unaccepted sacrifice. 
Down to the earth the smoke-cloud rolled, 
Pale-shadowed through its sulphurous fold, 
Banner and armour, spear and plume 
Gleamed like a vision of the tomb. 
One form alone was all of gloom, 
In deep and dusky arms arrayed, 
Changeless alike through flash and shade. 
Sudden within the barrier gate 
Behold, the seventh champion sate ! 
He waved his hand — he stooped his lance— 
The challenger started from his trance ; 

He plunged his spur — he loosed his rein- 
A flash — a groan — a woman's cry — 
And up to the receiving sky 
The white cloud rose again ! 



XVI 



The white cloud rose — the white cloud fled 
The peace of heaven returned in dew, 

And soft and far the noontide shed 
Its holiness of blue. 



THE BROKEX CHAIN 

The rock, the earth, the wave, the brake 

Rejoiced beneath that sweet succeeding ; 
No sun nor sound can warm or wake 

One human heart's unheeding : 
Stretched on the dark earth's bosom, chill, 
Amboise's lord lay stark and still. 
The heralds raise him but to mark 
The last light leave his eyeballs dark — 
The last blood dwindle on his cheek — 
They turned ; a murmur wild and weak 
Passed on the air, in passion broken, 

The faint low sob of one in pain — 
' Lo ! the faith thou hast forgotten 

Binds thee with its broken chain ! 



PART FIFTH 



The mists, that mark the day's decline. 

Have cooled and lulled the purple air ; 
The bell, from Saint Cecilia's shrine, 

Hath tolled the evening hour of prayer 
With folded veil, and eyes that shed 
Faint rays along the stones they tread, 
And bosom stooped, and step subdued, 
Came forth that ancient sisterhood ; 
Each bearing on her lips along 
Part of the surge of a low song, 
A wailing requiem, wildly mixed 

With suppliant cry, how weak to win, 
From home so far — from fate so fixed, 

A spirit dead in sin ! 



THE BROKEX CHAIN 

Yet yearly must they meet, and pray 

For her who died — how long ago ! 

How long — 'twere only Love could know 
And she, ere her departing day, 
Had watched the last of Love's decay ; 
Had felt upon her fading cheek 

None but a stranger's sighs ; 
Had none but stranger souls to seek 

Her death-thoughts in her e;. 
Had none to guard her couch of clay, 

Or trim her funeral stone, 
Save those who, when she passed away, 

Felt not the more alone. 



And years had seen that narrow spot 
Of death-sod levelled and forgot, 
Ere question came of record kept, 
Or how she died — or where she slept. 
The night was wild, the moon was late — 
A lady sought the convent gate ; 
The midnight chill was on her breast, 

The dew was on her hair, 
And in her eye there was unrest. 

And on her brow, despair. 
She came to seek the face, she said, 

Of one deep injured. One by one 
The gentle sisters came, and shed 

The meekness of their looks upon 
Her troubled watch. ' I know them not, 

I know them not ', she murmured still : 
' Are then her face — her form forgot ? 

Alas ! we lose not when we will 
The thoughts of an accomplished ill ; 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 153 

The image of our love may fade, 

But what can quench a victim's shade ? 



' She comes not yet. She will not come. 

I seek her chamber ' ; and she rose 
With a quick start of grief, which some 

Would have restrained ; but the repose 
Of her pale brow rebuked them. ' Back ', 

She cried, ' the path — the place, I knov. 
Follow me not — though broad and black 
The night lies on that lonely track. 
There moves for ever by my side 
A darker spirit for my guide ; 
A broader curse — a wilder woe, 
Must gird my footsteps as I go.' 



Sternly she spoke, and shuddering, sought 
The cloister arches, marble-wrought, 
That send, through many a trembling shaft, 
The deep wind's full, melodious draught, 
Round the low space of billowy turf, 
Where funeral roses flash like surf, 
O'er those who share the convent grave, 
Laid each beneath her own green wave. 



From stone to stone she past, and spelt 
The letters with her fingers felt ; 



154 THE DROKEX CHAIX 

The stains of time are drooped across 
Those mouldering names, obscure with moss 
The hearts where once they deeply dwelt, 
With music's power to move and melt, 
Are stampless too — the fondest few 
Have scarcely kept a trace more true. 



She paused at length beside a girth 
Of osiers overgrown and old ; 

And with her eyes fixed on the earth, 
Spoke slowly and from lips as cold 
As ever met the burial mould. 



* I have not come to ask for peace 

From thee, thou unforgiving clay ! 
The pangs that pass — the throbs that cease 

From such as thou, in their decay, 
Bequeath them that repose of wrath 

So dark of heart, so dull of ear, 
That bloodless strength of s worded sloth, 

That shows not mercy, knows not fear, 
And keeps its death-smile of disdain 
Alike for pity, as for pam. 
But, galled by many a ghastly link, 

That bound and brought my soul to thee, 
I come to bid thy vengeance drink 

The wine of this my misery. 
Look on me as perchance the dead 
Can look, through soul and spirit spread 
Before thee ; go thou forth, and tread 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 15: 

The lone fields of my life, and see 

Those dark, large flocks of restless pangs 
They pasture, and the thoughts of thee 

That shepherd them, and teach their fangs 
To eat the green, and guide their feet 
To trample where the banks are sweet, 
And judge betwixt us, which is best, 
My sleepless torture, or thy rest ; 
And which the worthier to be wept, 
The fate I caused, or that I kept. 
I tell thee, that my steps must stain 
With more than blood, their path of pain ; 
And I would fold my weary feet 
More gladly in thy winding sheet, 
And wrap my bosom in thy shroud, 
And dash thy darkness on the crowd 

Of terrors in my sight, and sheathe 
Mine ears from their confusion loud, 

And cool my brain with cypress wreath 
More gladly from its pulse of blood, 
Than ever bride with orange bud 
Clouded her moony brow. Alas ! 
This osier fence I must not pass. 
Wilt thou not thank me, that I dare 

To feel the beams and drink the breath 
That curse me out of Heaven, nor share 
The cup that quenches human care. 

The Sacrament of death ; 
But yield thee this, thy living prey 
Of erring soul and tortured clay, 
To feed thee, when thou com'st to keep 
Thy watch of wrath around my sleep, 
Or turn the shafts of daylight dim, 
With faded breast and frozen limb ? 



i;6 THE BROKEX CHAIX 



' Yet come, and be, as thou hast been, 
Companion ceaseless — not unseen, 
Though gloomed the veil of flesh between 
Mine eyes and thine, and fast and rife 
Around me flashed the forms of life : 
I knew them by their change — for one 
I did not lose, I could not shun, 
Through laughing crowd, and lighted room, 
Through listed field, and battle's gloom, 
Through all the shapes and sounds that press 
The Path or wake the Wilderness : 
E'en when He came, mine eyes to fill, 
Whom Love saw solitary still, 
For ever, shadowy by my side, 
I heard thee murmur, watched thee glide ; 
But what shall now thy purpose bar ? 
The laughing crowd is scattered far, 
The lighted hall is left forlorn, 
The listed field is white with corn, 
And he, beneath whose voice and brow 
I could forget thee, is — as thou.' 



IX 



She spoke, she rose, and, from that hour, 
The peasant groups that pause beside 
The chapel walls at eventide, 
To catch the notes of chord and song 
That unseen fingers form, and lips prolong, 

Have heard a voice of deeper power. 
Of wilder swell, and purer fall, 
More sad, more modulate, than all. 



THE BROKEN CHAIN 157 

It is not keen, it is not loud, 

But ever heard alone, 
As winds that touch on chords of cloud 

Across the heavenly zone, 
Then chiefly heard, when drooped and drowned 
In strength of sorrow, more than sound ; 
That low articulated rush 

Of swift, but secret passion, breaking 
From sob to song, from gasp to gush ; 
Then failing to that deadly hush, 

That only knows the wilder waking — 
That deep, prolonged, and dream-like sv 
So full that rose — so faint that fell, 
So sad — so tremulously clear — 
So checked with something worse than fear. 
Whose can they be ? 
Go, ask the midnight stars, that see 
The secrets of her sleepless cell ; 
For none but God and they can tell 
What thoughts and deeds of darkened choice 
Gave horror to that burning voice — 

That voice, unheard save thus, untaught 
The words of penitence or prayer ; 

The grey confessor knows it not ; 
The chapel echoes only bear 
Its burst and burthen of despair ; 
And pity's voice hath rude reply 
From darkened brow and downcast eye, 
That quench the question, kind or rash, 
With rapid shade and reddening flash ; 
Or, worse, with the regardless trance 
Of sealed ear, and sightless glance, 
That fearful glance, so large and bright, 
That dwells so long, with heed so light, 
When, far within, its fancv lies, 



153 THE BROKEX CHAIN 

Nor movement marks, nor ray replies, 
Nor kindling dawn, nor holy dew- 
Reward the words that soothe or sue. 



Restless she moves ; beneath her veil 

That writhing brow is sunk and shaded ; 
Its touch is cold — its veins are pale — 

Its crown is lost — its lustre faded ; 
Yet lofty still, though scarcely bright, 
Its glory burns beneath the blight 
Of wasting thought, and withering crime, 
And curse of torture and of time ; 
Of pangs — of pride, endured — degraded — 
Of guilt unchecked, and grief unaided. 
Her sable hair is slightly braided ; 
Warm, like south wind, its foldings float 
Round her soft hands and marble throat ; 
How passive these, how T pulseless this, 

That love should lift, and life should warm ! 
Ah ! where the kindness, or the kiss, 

Can break their dead and drooping charm ! 
Perchance they were not always so : 

That breast hath sometimes movement deep. 
Timed like the sea, that surges slow 
Where storms have trodden long ago ; 

And sometimes, from their listless sleep, 
Those hands are harshly writhed and knit, 
As grasping what their frenzied fit 
Deemed peace to crush, or death to quit. 
And then the sisters shrink aside ; 

They know the words that others hear 
Of grace, or gloom — to charm, or chide — 

Fall on her inattentive ear 



THE BROKEX CHAIN 159 

As falls the snowfiake on the rock, 
That feels no chill, and knows no shock ; 
Nor dare they mingle in her mood, 
So dark, and dimly understood ; 
And better so, if, as they say, 
'Tis something worse than solitude : 

For some have marked, what that dismay 
Had seemed to snatch her soul away, 
That in her eye's unquietness 
There shone more terror than distress ; 
And deemed they heard, when, soft and dead, 
By night they watched her sleepless tread, 
Strange words addressed, beneath her breath, 
As if to one who heard in death, 
And, in the night-wind's sound and sigh, 
Imagined accents of reply. 



The sun is on his western march, 

His rays are red on shaft and arch ; 

With hues of hope their softness dyes 

The image with the lifted eyes 1 , 

Where listening still, with tranced smile, 

Cecilia lights the glimmering aisle ; 

So calm the beams that flushed her rest 

Of ardent brow, and virgin breast, 

Whose chill they pierced, but not profaned, 

And seemed to stir what scarce they stained — 

So warm the life, so pure the ray : 

Such she had stood, ere snatched from clay, 

l I was thinking of St Cecilia of Raphael at Bologna, turned 
into marble — were it possible, where so much depends on the en- 
tranced darkness of the eyes. The shrine of St Cecilia is alto- 
gether imaginary ; she is not a favourite saint in matters of dedica- 
tion. I don't know why. 



i6o THE BROKEX CHAIX 

When sank the tones of sun and spher.-, 
Deep melting on her mortal ear ; 
And angels stooped, with fond control, 
To write the rapture on her soul. 

XII 

Two sisters, at the statue's feet, 
Paused in the altar's arched retreat, 
As risen but now from earnest prayer — 
One aged and grey — one passing fair ; 
In changeful gush of breath and blood, 
Mute for a time the younger stood ; 
Then raised her head and spoke : the flow 
Of sound was measured, stern, and slow — 

XIII 

' Mother ! thou sayest she died in strife 
Of heavenly wrath and human woe ; 

For me, there is not that in life 

Whose loss could ask, or love could owe, 
As much of pang as now I show ; 

But that the book which angels write 
Within men's spirits day by day, 

That diary of judgment-light, 
That cannot pass away, 

Which, with cold ear and glazing eye, 

Men hear and read before they die, 

Is open now before me set ; 

Its drifting leaves are red and wet 

With blood and fire, and yet, methought, 

Its words were music, were they not 

Written in darkness. 

/ confess ! 
Say'st thou ? The sea shall yield its dead, 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 161 

Perchance my spirit its distress ; 

Yet there are paths of human dread 
That none but God should trace or tread ; 
Men judge by a degraded law ; 

With Him, I fear not : He who gave 
The sceptre to the passion, saw 

The sorrow of the slave. 
He made me, not as others are, 

"Who dwell, like willows by a brook 
That see the shadow of one star 

For ever with serenest look 
Lighting their leaves, that only hear 
Their sun-stirred boughs sing soft and clear, 
And only live by consciousness 
Of waves that feed and winds that bless. 
Me — rooted on a lonely rock, 

Amidst the rush of mountain rivers. 
He doomed to bear the sound and shock 
Of shafts that bend and storms that rock, 

The frost that blasts, and flash that shivers ; 
And I am desolate and sunk, 
A lifeless wreck — a leafless trunk, 
Smitten with plagues, and seared with sin, 
And black with rottenness within, 
But conscious of the holier will 
That saved me long, and strengthens still. 



' Mine eyes are dim, they scarce can trace 
The rays that pierce this lonely place ; 
But deep within their darkness dwell 
A thousand thoughts they knew — too well. 
Those orbed towers obscure and vast l , 

The circular tower [or bastion of the castle-rock] of Amboise, 

M 



1 62 THE BROKEX CHAIX 

That light the Loire with sunset last ; 
Those fretted groups of shaft and spire 
That crest Amboise's cliff with fire, 
When, far beneath, in moonlight fail 
The winds that shook the pausing sail ; 
The panes that tint with dyes divine 
The altar of St. Hubert's shrine ; 
The very stone on which I knelt, 

When youth was pure upon my brow, 
Though word I prayed, or wish I felt 

I scarce remember now. 
Methought that there I bowed to bless 

A warrior's sword — a *vanderer's way : 
Ah ! nearer now, the knee would press 

The heart for which the lips would pray. 
The thoughts were meek, the words were low- 

I deemed them free from sinful stain ; 
It might be so. I only know 

These were unheard, and those were vain. 



' That stone is raised ; — where once it lay 
Is built a tomb of marble grey 1 ; 
Asleep within the sculptured veil 
Seems laid a knight in linked mail ; 
Obscurely laid in powerless rest, 
The latest of his line ; 

is so large as to admit of a spiral ascent in its interior, which two 
horsemen may ride up abreast. The chapel, which crowns the 
precipice, though small, is one of the loveliest bits of rich detail in 
France. In reality it is terminated by a small wooden spire. It is 
dedicated to St Hubert, a grotesque piece of carving above the 
entrance representing his rencontre with the sacred stag. 

i There is no such tomb now in existence, the chapel being circu- 
lar, and unbroken in design ; in fact, I have my doubts whether 
there ever was an ything of the kind, the lady being slightly too vague 
in her assertions to deserve unqualified credit. 



THE BROKEN CHAIX 163 

Upon his casque he bears no crest, 

Upon his shield no sign. 
I've seen the day when through the blue 
Of broadest heaven his banner flew, 
And armies watched, through farthest fight, 
The stainless symbol's stormy light 

Wave like an angel's wing. 

Ah ! now a scorned and scathed thing, 
Its silken folds the worm shall fret, 
The clay shall soil, the dew shall wet, 
Where sleeps the sword that once could save, 

And droops the arm that bore ; 
Its hues must gird a nameless grave ; 
Nor wind shall wake, nor lance shall wave, 

Nor glory gild it more : 
For he is fallen — oh ! ask not how, 

Or ask the angels that unlock 

The inmost grave's sepulchral rock ; 
I could have told thee once, but now 
'Tis madness in me all, and thou 
Wouldst deem it so, if I should speak. 
And I am glad my brain is weak ; — 
Ah ! this is yet its only wrong. 
To know too well — to feel too long. 



' But I remember how he lay 
When the rushing crowd were all away 
And how I called, with that low cry- 
He never heard without reply ; 
And how there came no sound nor sign- 
And the feel of his dead lips on mine ; 
And when they came to comfort me, 
I laughed, because thev could not see 



164 THE BROKEX CHAIN 

The stain of blood, or print of lance, 
To write the tomb upon the trance. 
I saw, what they had heeded not, 
Above his heart a small black spot ; 
Ah, woe ! I knew how deep within 
That stamp of death, that seal of sin, 
Had struck with mortal agony 
The heart so false — to all but me. 



' Mother ! methinks my soul can say 

It loved as well as woman's may ; 

And what I would have given, to gain 

The answering love, to count were vain ; 

I know not — what I gave I know — 

My hope on high, my all below. 

But hope and height of earth and heaven, 

Or highest sphere to angels given, 

Would I surrender, and take up 

The horror of this cross and cup 

I bear and drink, to win the thought 

That I had failed in what I sought ; 

Alas ! I won — rejoiced to win 

The love whose every look was sin ; 

Whose every dimly worded breath 

Was but the distant bell of death 

For her who heard, for him who spoke. 

Ah ! though those hours were swift and few, 
The guilt they bore, the vow they broke, 

Time cannot punish — nor renew. 

XVIII 

' They told me, long ago, that thou 
Hadst seen, beneath this very shade 



THE BROKEN CHAIN 165 

Of mouldering stone that wraps us now, 

The death of her whom he betrayed. 
Thine eves are wet with memory — 
In truth 'tis fearful sight to see 
E'en the last sands of sorrow run, 
Though the fierce work of death be done, 
And the worst woe that fate can wfll 
Bids but its victim to be still. 
But I beheld the darker years 

That first oppressed her beauty's bloom ; 
The sickening heart and silent tears 

That asked and eyed her early tomb ; 

I watched the deepening of her doom, 
As, pulse by pulse, and day by day, 
The crimson life-tint waned away ; 
And timed her bosom's quickening beat, 

That hastened only to be mute, 
And the short tones, each day more sweet, 

That made her lips like an Eolian lute, 
When winds are saddest ; and I saw 
The kindling of the unearthly awe 
That touched those lips with frozen light, 
The smile, so bitter, yet so bright, 
Which grief, that sculptured, seals its own, 
Which looks like life, but stays like stone ; 
Which checks with fear the charm it gives, 
And loveliest burns when least it lives — 
All this I saw. Thou canst not guess 
How woman may be merciless. 
One word from me had rent apart 
The chains that chafed her dying heart : 
Closer I clasped the links of care, 
And learned to pity — not to spare. 



166 THE BROKEX CHAIN 



' She might have been avenged ; for when 
Her woe was aidless among men, 
And tooth of scorn and brand of shame 
Had seared her spirit, spoiled her name, 
There came a stranger to her side, 

Or — if a friend, forgotten long, 
For hearts are frail when hands divide. 
There were who said her early pride 

Had cast his love away with wrong ; 

But that might be a dreamer's song. 
He looked like one whom power or pain 

Had hardened, or had hewn, to rock 
That could not melt nor rend again, 

Unless the staff of God might shock, 
And burst the sacred waves to birth 
That deck with bloom the Desert's dearth — 
That dearth that knows nor breeze nor balm, 

Xor feet that print, nor sounds that thrill 
Though cloudless was his soul, and calm, 

It was the Desert still ; 
And blest the wildest cloud had been 
That broke the desolate serene, 
And kind the storm, that farthest strewed 
Those burning sands of solitude. 



' Darkly he came, and in the dust 

Had writ, perchance, Amboise's shame : 

I knew the sword he drew was just, 
And in my fear a fiend there came ; 

It deepened first, and then derided 
The madness of my youth ; 



THE BROKEX CHAIX 167 

I deemed not that the God, who guided 

The battle-blades in truth, 
Could gather from the earth the guilt 
Of holy blood in secret spilt. 



' I watched at night the feast flow high ; 
I kissed the cup he drank to die ; 
I heard, at morn, the trumpet-call 
Leap cheer'ly round the guarded wall ; 
And laughed to think how long and clear 
The blast must be, for him to hear. 
He lies within the chambers deep, 

Beneath Amboise's chapel floor, 
Where slope the rocks in ridges steep, 

Far to the river shore ; 
"Where thick the summer flowers are sown, 
And, even within the deadening stone, 

A living ear can catch the close 
Of gentle waves for ever sent, 
To soothe, with lull and long lament, 

That murdered knight's repose : 
And yet he sleeps not well ; — but I 

Am wild, and know not what I say ; 
My guilt thou knowest — the penalty 

AYhich I have paid, and yet must pay, 

Thou canst not measure. O'er the day 
I see the shades of twilight float — 
My time is short. Believest thou not ? 
I know my pulse is true and light, 
My step is firm, mine eyes are bright ; 
Yet see they — what thou canst not see — 
The open grave, dug deep for me ; 



1 68 THE BROKEX CHAIN 

The vespers we shall sing to-night 

My burial hymn shall be : 
But what the path by which I go, 
My heart desires, yet dreads, to know. 
But this remember, (these the last 

Of words I speak for earthly ear ; 
Xor sign nor sound my soul shall cast, 

Wrapt in its rinal fear :) 
For him, forgiving, brave and true, 
Whom timeless and unshrived I slew, 
For him be holiest masses said, 
And rites that sanctify the dead, 
With yearly honour paid. 
For her, by whom he was betrayed, 
Xor blood be shed \ nor prayer be made, 
The cup were death — the words were sin, 
To judge the soul they could not win, 
And fall in torture o'er the grave 
Of one they could not wash, nor save.' 



The vesper beads are told and slipped, 
The chant has sunk by choir and crypt. 
That circle dark — they rise not yet ; 
V\ ith downcast eyes, and lashes wet, 

They linger, bowed and low ; 
They must not part before they pray 
For her who left them on this day 

How many years ago ! 



1 In the sacrifice of the Mass the priest is said to offer Christ for 
the quick and dead. 



THE BROKEX CHAIX 169 



They knelt'within the marble screen, 
Black-robed and moveless, hardly seen, 
Save by their shades that sometimes shook 

Along the quiet floor. 
Like leaf-shades on a waveless brook 

When the wind walks by the shore. 
The altar lights that burned between, 
Were seven small fire-shafts, white and keen, 

Intense and motionless. 
They did not shake for breeze nor breath, 

They did not change, nor sink, nor shiver ; 
They burned as burn the barbs of death 

At rest within their angel's quiver. 
From lip to lip, in chorus kept, 
The sad, sepulchral music swept, 
While one sweet voice unceasing led : 
Were there but mercy for the dead, 
Such prayer had power to soothe — to save — 
Ay ! even beneath the binding grave ; 
So pure the springs of faith that fill 

The spirit's fount, at last unsealed, 
A corpse's ear, an angel's will, 

That voice might wake, or wield. 
Keener it rose, and wilder yet ; i 
The lifeless flowers that wreathe and fret 
Column and arch with garlands white, 
Drank the deep fall of its delight, 
Like purple rain 1 at evening shed 

On Sestri's cedar-darkened shore, 

1 I never saw such a thing but once, on the mountains of Sestri. 
in the Gulf of Genoa. The whole western half of the sky was one 
intense amber colour, the air crystalline and cloudless, the other, 
half grey with drifting showers. At the instant of sunset, the whole 
mass of rain turned of a deep rose-colour, the consequent rainbow 



fro THE BROKEX CHAIN 

:-n all her sunlit waves lie dead, 
. I, far along the mountains fled, 
Her clouds forget the gloom they wore. 
Till winding vale and pasture low 
Pant underneath their gush and glow ; 
So sank, so swept, on earth and air, 
That single voice of passioned prayer. 
The hollow tombs gave back the tone, 
The roof's grey shafts of stalwart stone 
Quivered like chords ; the keen night-blast 
Grew tame beneath the sound. Tis past : 
That failing cry — how feebly flung ! 
What charm is laid on her who sung ? 
Slowly she rose — her eyes were fixed 
On the void, penetrable air ; 

And in their glance was gladness mixed 
With terror and an under-glare : 
What human soul shall seize or share 

The thoughts it might avow ? 
It might have been — ah ! is it now — 
Devotion ? — or despair ? 



With -::ps whose short white flashes keep 
Beneath the shade of her loose hair, 

With measured pace, as one in sleep 
Who heareth music in the air, 

She left the sisters' circle deep. 

Their anxious eyes of doubled thought 

Dwelt on her, but she heeded not ; 

Fear-struck and breathless as they gazed, 
Before her steps their ranks divided ; 

lours, but one broad belt of paler 
rose ; the other tints being so delicate as to be overwhelmed by the 
crimson'of the rain. 



THE BROKEN CHAIX i; 

Her hand was given — her face was raised 
As if to one who watched and guided. 
Her form emerges from the shade : 
Lo ! she will cross, where full displayed 
Against the altar light 'tis thrown ; 
She crosses now — but not alone. 
Who leads her ? Lo ! the sisters shrink 
Back from that guide with limbs that sink, 
And eyes that glaze, and lips that blench ; 

For, seen where broad the beams were ca: 
By what it dimmed, but did not quench, 

A dark, veiled form there passed — 
Veiled with the nun's black robe, that shed 
Faint shade around its soundless tread ; 
^loveless and mute the folds that fell, 
Nor touch can change, nor breeze repel. 
Deep to the earth its head was bowed, 
Its face was bound with the white shroud ; 
One hand upon its bosom pressed — 
One seemed to lead its mortal guest : 
The hand it held lay bright and bare, 
Cold as itself, and deadly fair. 
What oath hath bound the fatal troth 
Whose horror seems to seal them both ? — 
Each powerless in the grasp they give, 
This to release, and that to live. 



xxv 

Like sister sails, that drift by night 
Together on the deep, 

Seen only where they cross the light 

That pathless waves must pathlike keep 
From fisher's signal fire or pharos steep : 



172 THE BROKEX CHAIN 

XXVI 

Like two thin wreaths that autumn dew 

Hath framed of equal-paced cloud, 

Whose shapes the hollow night can shroud, 
Until they cross some caverned place 

Of moon-illumined blue, 
That live an instant, but must trace 
Their onward way, to taste and wane 
Within the sightless gloom again, 
Where, scattered from their heavenly pride 
Xor star nor storm shall gild or guide, — 
So shape and shadow, side by side, 
The consecrated light had crossed. 
Beneath the aisle an instant lost, 

Behold ! again they glide 
Where yonder moonlit arch is bent 
Above the marble steps' descent, — 
Those ancient steps, so steep and worn, 

Though none descend, unless it be 
Bearing, or borne, to sleep, or mourn, 

The faithful, or the free. 
The shade yon bending cypress cast, 

Stirred by the weak and tremulous air, 
Kept back the moonlight as they passed. 

The rays returned : they were not there. 
Who follows ? Watching still to mark 
If aught returned — (but all was dark) 
Down to the gate, by two and three, 
The sisters crept, how fearfully ! 
They only saw, when there they came, 
Two wandering tongues of waving flame 
O'er the white stones, confusedly strewed 
Across the field of solitude. 



TO ADELE 

(AGE 21) 



That slow and heavy bell hath knolled 

Like thunder o'er a shoreless sea ; 
I have not heard it since it told 

The hour that bore me back to thee : 
The hour whose wings had lulled me long, 
When hope was cold and grief was strong ; 
Whose kindness ever came, to keep 
The shade of sorrow from my sleep, 
And mocked my dreams, but, wild and far, 
Departed with the morning star — 
Yet came at last. That lonely bell 
Had waked me with its measured knell ; 
And though my soul, in its awaking 

From dreams of thee, is always chill, 
I knew that hour, their brightness breaking. 

Had scattered only to fulfil. 
And, through my trembling spirit sent, 
The billowy echoes quivering went, 
As the swift throb of morning breaks 
Through the thin rain-cloud's folded flakes ; 
Even as, that hour, it beamed above 

The azure of the expanded plains, 
And filled the heaven with light, like love, 

And kindled through its azure veins, 



i; 4 TO A DELE 

As the keen joy through mine : 

I knew, that ere those purple stains 
Of heaven should see the sun's decline, 
And melt along the western sea, 
A brighter sun should rise for me. 



And it hath risen — and it hath set, 

The glory and the tone 
Of twilight have scarce passed, and yet 

I have been long alone. 
It is for those who can forget, 
So that the path of time they tread 
Is strewed with pangs and passions dead, 
To trace their periods of weak pain 

By the cold shadows, that reveal not 

What once they felt — what now they feel not. 
To those, with whom the linked chain 
Of days and years can never press 
Upon their unforgetfulness, 

An hour may be as long, 
When its keen thoughts are dark and swift, 

And when its pangs are strong 
As the onward, undistinguished drift 
Of the calm years, that still retain 
One hope, one passion, and one pain. 



That sun hath risen — that sun hath set, 
And though the dim night is not yet 
So lifeless or so dark, for me, 
As it hath been — as it shall be, 



TO A DELE :;: 

There's that of dew and chillness thrown 

Across my thoughts and brow, 
Whose inward meaning none have known, 

Not even thou — 
Thou — for whose sake that brow is dark, 
Whose constant pang thou canst not mark. 

Alas ! if pity be a pain, 
I would not wish thee once to see 
How much the distant feel for thee, 

And feel in vain. 



It strikes again, that measured chime ; 
Hark ! its cold vibrations climb 
Heavily up the slope of night ; 
And lo ! how quiverings of keen light 
Along the starlit waters follow 
Those undulations hoarse and hollow, 
That move among the tufted trees 

That crown yon eastern hill, 
Which midnight frees from bird and breeze, 

Bidding their leaves lie still. 
There — deeply, softly, charmed and checked, 

They pass the pile with slower swelling, 
Where 1 , wildly wrung or early wrecked, 
Pure heart and piercing intellect 

Xow keep their unattended dwelling : 
And sorrow's sob and phrenzy's shriek 
Are calm beneath their cadence weak ; 
And torture tamed and grief beguiled 
Have turned, have listened, and have smiled. 



1 A madhouse in a clump of trees. 



176 TO A DELE 



My own quick thoughts, which were as will, 
Have sunk at once, I know not why, — 

Not less sad, but far more mild, 
As these low sounds float by ; 

Low sounds, that seem the passing bell 

For the swift and dark-eyed hours, whose rushing 
Around the earth was fraught with flushing, 

Kindled by the entrancing spell 
That breathed of thee, 

When from thy lips and from thy presence fell 
The stream of light, of melody, 

That on their wings did glow and dwell, 
Till each was faint with his own ecstasy. 

And they are dead — cold and dead ; 

Yet in the light of their own beauty lying, 
That light, which is alone undimmed, undying, 

When for all else the shroud is spread- 
Imperishable, though so pale, 

It burns beneath the moveless veil, 

That o'er their beauty and their breath 

Hath cast a guise and charm of death : 

A guise how false ! — a charm how vain ! 

For each of the departing train 

Drank, as it passed, beholding thee, 

First joy — then Immortality. 



THE TEARS OF PSAMMENITUS 

(AGE 2l) 

Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, made war on Psammeni- 
tus of Egypt, and deposed him. His sons were sen- 
tenced to death, his daughters to slavery. He saw his 
children pass to death and to dishonour without apparent 
emotion, but wept on observing a noble, who had been his 
companion, ask alms of the Persians. Cambyses sent to 
inquire the reason of his conduct. The substance of his 
reply was as follows : 

Say ye I wept ? I do not know : — 

There came a sound across my brain, 
Which was familiar long ago ; 

And, through the hot and crimson stain 
That floods the earth and chokes the air, 

I saw the waving of white hair — 

The palsy of an aged brow ; 

I should have known it once, but now 
One desperate hour hath dashed away 
The memory of my kingly day. 
Mute, weak, unable to deliver 

That bowed distress of passion pale, 
I saw that forehead's tortured quiver, 

And watched the weary footstep fail, 
With just as much of sickening thrill 
As marked my heart was human still : 
Yes, though my breast is bound and barred 
With pain, and though that heart is hard, 
177 N 



178 THE TEARS OF PSAMMENITUS 

And though the grief that should have bent 
Hath made me, what ye dare not mock — 

The being of untamed intent, 

Between the tiger and the rock — 

There's that of pity's outward glow 
May bid the tear atone, 

In mercy to another's woe, 
For mockery of its own ; 

It is not cold — it is not less, 

Though yielded in unconsciousness. 

And it is well that I can weep, 

For in the shadow, not of sleep, 

Through which, as with a vain endeavour, 

These aged eyes must gaze for ever, 

Their tears can cast the only light 

That mellows down the mass of night ; 

For they have seen the curse of sight, 

My spirit guards the dread detail, 

And wears their vision like a veil. 

They saw the low Pelusian shore 

Grow warm with death and dark with gore, 

When, on those widely-watered fields, 
Shivered and sank, betrayed, oppressed, 
Ionian sword and Carian crest \ 

And Egypt's shade of shields : 
They saw — oh God ! they still must see 
That dream of long, dark agony, 
A vision passing, never passed, 
A troop of kingly forms, that cast 
Cold, quivering shadows of keen pain, 
In bars of darkness, o'er my brain : 

l The Ionians and Carians were faithful auxiliaries of the Egyptian 
: m the beginning of the reign of Psammenitus. The helmet 
was invented by the Carians. 



THE TEARS OF PSAMMENITUS 179 

I see them move — I hear them tread, 
Each his untroubled eyes declining, 
Though fierce in front, and swift and red 

The Eastern sword is sheathless shining. 
I heard them tread — the earth doth not ! 
Alas ! its echoes have forgot 
The fiery steps that shook the shore 
With their swift pride in days of yore. 
In vain, in vain, in wrath arrayed, 
Shall Egypt wave her battle-blade ; 
It cannot cleave the dull death-shade, 
Where, sternly checked and lowly laid, 
Despised, dishonoured, and betrayed, 
That pride is past, those steps are stayed. 

Oh ! would I were as those who sleep 

In yonder island lone and low 1 , 
Beside whose shore, obscure and deep, 

Sepulchral waters flow, 
And wake, with beating pause, like breath, 
Their pyramidal place of death ; 
For it is cool and quiet there, 

And on the calm frankincensed clay 
Passes no change, and this despair 

Shrinks like the baffled worm, their prey 
Alike impassive. I forget 

The thoughts of him who sent ye here : 
Bear back these words, and say, though yet 

The shade of this unkingly fear 

Hath power upon my brow, no tear 
Hath quenched the curse within mine eyes ; 

1 Under the hill on which the pyramids of Cheops were erected 
were excavated vaults, around which a stream from the Nile was 
carried by a subterraneous passage. These were sepulchres for 
the kings, and Cheops was buried there himself. — Herod., II, 187 



1S0 THE TEARS OF PSAMMEXITUS 

And, by that curse's fire, 

I see the doom that shall possess 
His hope, his passion, his desire, 

His life, his strength, his nothingness. 

I see, across the desert led 1 , 

A plumed host, on whom distress 
Of fear and famine hath been shed ; 

Before them lies the wilderness, 
Behind, along the path they tread, 

If death make desolation less, 
There lie a company of dead 

Who cover the sand's hot nakedness 
With a cool moist bed of human clay, 
A soil and a surface of slow decay : 
Through the dense and lifeless heap 

Irregularly rise 
Short shuddering waves that heave and creep, 
Like spasms that plague the guilty sleep ; 

And where the motion dies, 
A moaning mixes with the purple air. 
They have not fallen in fight ; the trace 

Of war hath not passed by ; 
There is no fear on any face, 

Xo wrath in any eye. 
They have laid them down with bows unbent, 
With swords unfleshed and innocent, 
In the grasp of that famine whose gradual thrill 
Is fiercest to torture, and longest to kill : 
Stretched in one grave on the burning plain 
Coiled together in knots of pain, 
Where the dead are twisted in skeleton writhe, 



l Cambyses, after subduing Egypt, led an army against the Ethio- 
pians. He was checked by famine. Persisting in his intention 
until the troops were obliged to kill every tenth man for food, he lost 
the greater part of his army. 






THE TEARS OF PSAMMENITUS 181 

With the mortal pangs of the living and lithe ; 
Soaking into the sand below, 

With the drip of the death-dew, heavy and slow ; 
Mocking the heaven that heard no prayer, 
With the lifted hand and the lifeless stare — 
With the lifted hand, whose tremorless clay 
Though powerless to combat, is patient to pray. 
And the glance that reflects, in its vain address, 
Heaven's blue from its own white lifelessness ; 
Heaped for a feast on the venomous ground, 
For the howling jackal and herded hound ; 
With none that can watch, and with few that 

will weep, 
By the home they have left, or the home they 

must keep, 
The strength hath been lost from the desolate 

land, 
Once fierce as the simoom, now frail as the sand. 

Not unavenged : their gathered wrath 

Is dark along its desert path, 

Nor strength shall bide, nor madness fly 

The anger of their agony ; 

For every eye, though sunk and dim, 

And every lip, in its last need, 
Hath looked and breathed a plague on him 

Whose pride they fell to feed. 
The dead remember well and long, 
And they are cold of heart, and strong. 
They died, they cursed thee ; not in vain ! 
Along the river's reedy plain 
Behold a troop — a shadowy crowd — 
Of godlike spectres, pale and proud ; 
In concourse calm they move and meet ; 
The desert billows at their feet 



182 THE TEARS OF PSAMMEXITUS 

Heave like the sea when, deep distressed, 
The waters pant in their unrest. 
Robed in a whirl of pillared sand 

Avenging Ammon glides supreme x ; 
The red sun smoulders in his hand, 

And, round about his brows, the gleam. 
As of a broad and burning fold 
Of purple wind, is wrapped and rolled 2 . 

With frailing frame and lingering tread, 
Stern Apis follows, wild and worn 3 ; 

The blood by mortal madness shed, 

Frozen on his white limbs, anguish-torn. 

What soul can bear, what strength can brook 

The god-distress that fills his look ? 

The dreadful light of fixed disdain, 

The fainting wrath, the flashing pain 

Bright to decree or to confess 

Another's fate — its own distress — 

A mingled passion and appeal, 

Dark to inflict and deep to feel. 

Who are these that flitting follow 
Indistinct and numberless ? 



1 Cambyses sent 50,000 men to burn the temple of the Egyptian 
Jove or Ammon. They plunged into the desert, and were never 
heard of more. It was reported they were overwhelmed with sand. 

2 The simoom is rendered visible by its purple tone of colour. 

3 The god Apis occasionally appeared in Egypt under the form 
of a handsome bull. He imprudently visited his worshippers im- 
mediately after Cambyses had returned from Ethiopia with the 
loss of his army and reason. Cambyses heard of his appearance, 
and insisted on seeing him. The officiating priests introduced 
Cambyses to the bull. The king looked with little respect on a deity 
whose divinity depended on the number of hairs in his tail, drew his 
da?g?r, wounded Apis in the thigh, and scourged all the priests. 
Apis died. From that time the insanity of Cambyses became 
evident, and he was subject to the violent and torturing passions 
described in the succeeding lines. 



THE TEARS OF PSAMMENITUS 183 

As through the darkness, cold and hollow, 

Of some hopeless dream, there pr 

Dim, delirious shapes that dress 
Their white limbs with folds of pain : 
See the swift mysterious train — 

Forms of fixed, unbodied feeling, 
Fixed, but in a fiery trance 
Of wildering mien and lightning glance, 

Each its inward power revealing 
Through its quivering countenance ; 
Visible living agonies, 

Wild with everlasting motion, 
Memory with her dark, dead eyes. 
Tortured thoughts that useless rise, 

Late remorse and vain devotion ; 
Dreams of cruelty and crime. 
Unmoved by rage, untamed by time ; 
Of fierce design, and fell delaying, 

Quenched affection, strong despair. 
Wan disease, and madness playing 

With her own pale hair. 
The last, how woeful and how wild ! 

Enrobed with no diviner dread 
Than that one smile, so sad, so mild, 

Worn by the human dead ; 
A spectre thing, whose pride of power 

Is vested in its pain, 
Becoming dreadful in the hour 

When what it seems was slain. 
Bound with the chill that checks the sei 

It moves in spasm-like spell : 
It walks in that dead impotence, 

How weak, how terrible ! 
Cambyses, when thy summoned hour 
Shall pause on Ecbatana's tower, 



1S4 THE TEARS OF PSAMMENITUS 

Though barbed with guilt, and swift, and fierce, 

Unnumbered pangs thy soul shall pierce, 

The last, the worst thy heart can prove, 

Must be that brother's look of love ■ ; 

That look that once shone but to bless, 

Then changed, how mute, how merciless ! 

His blood shall bathe thy brow, his pain 

Shall bind thee with a burning chain : 

His arms shall drag, his wrath shall thrust 

Thy soul to death, thy throne to dust ; 

Thy memory darkened with disgrace, 

Thy kingdom wrested from thy race 2 , 

Condemned of God, accursed of men, 

Lord of my grief, remember then, 

The tears of him — who will not weep again. 

1 Cambyses caused his brother Smerdis to be slain, suspecting 
him of designs on the throne. This deed he bitterly repented of 
on his death-bed, being convinced of the innocence of his brother. 

2 Treacherously seized by Smerdis the Magus, afterwards attained 
by Darius Hystaspes, through the instrumentality of his groom. 
Cambyses died in the Syrian Ecbatana, of a wound accidentally 
received in the part of the thigh where he had wounded Apis. 



THE TWO PATHS 
(age 21) 



The paths of life are rudely laid 

Beneath the blaze of burning skies ; 
Level and cool, in cloistered shade, 

The church's pavement lies. 
Along the sunless forest-glade 

Its gnarled roots are coiled like crime ; 
Where glows the grass with freshening blade, 

Thine eyes may track the serpent's slime ; 
But there thy steps are unbetrayed — 

The serpent waits a surer time. 



The fires of earth are fiercely blent, 

Its suns arise with scorching glow ; 
The church's light hath soft descent, 

And hues like God's own bow. 
The brows of men are darkly bent, 

Their lips are wreathed with scorn and guile 
But pure, and pale, and innocent, 

The looks that light the marble aisle — 
From angd eyes, in love intent, 

And lips of everlasting smile. 



1 86 THE TWO PATHS 



Lady, the fields of earth are wide, 

And tempt an infant's foot to stray : 
Oh ! lead thy loved one's steps aside, 

Where the white altar lights his way. 
Around his path shall glance and glide 

A thousand shadows false and wild ; 
Oh ! lead him to that surer Guide 

Than sire serene, or mother mild, 
Whose Childhood quelled the age of pride- 

Whose Godhead called the little child. 



So, when thy breast of love untold, 

That warmed his sleep of infancy, 
Shall only make the marble cold 

Beneath his aged knee, 
From its steep throne of heavenly gold 

Thy soul shall stoop to see 
His grief, that cannot be controlled, 

Turning to God from thee — 
Cleaving with prayer the cloudy fold 

That veils the Sanctuarv. 



THE OLD WATER-WHEEL 

(AGE 2l) 

It lies beside the river, where its marge 
Is black with many an old and oarless barge, 
And yeasty filth, and leafage wild and rank 
Stagnate and batten by the crumbling bank. 

Once, slow revolving by the industrious mill, 
It murmured, only on the Sabbath still ; 
And evening winds its pulse-like beating bore 
Down the soft vale, and by the winding shore. 

Sparkling around its orbed motion flew, 
With quick, fresh fall, the drops of dashing dew ; 
Through noontide heat that gentle rain was flung, 
And verdant round the summer herbage sprung. 

Now dancing light and sounding motion cease, 
In these dark hours of cold, continual peace ; 
Through its black bars the unbroken moonlight 

flows, 
And dry winds howl about its long repose ; 

And mouldering lichens creep, and mosses grey 
Cling round its arms, in gradual decay, 
Amidst the hum of men — which doth not suit 
That shadowy circle, motionless and mute. 



THE OLD WATER-WHEEL 

So. by the sleep of many a human heart, 
The crowd of men may bear their busy part, 
Where withered, or forgotten, or subdued, 
Its noisy passions have left solitude : 

Ah ! little can they trace the hidden truth ! 
What waves have moved it in the vale of youth ! 
And little can its broken chords avow 
How once they sounded. All is silent now. 



FAREWELL 

(AGE 2G-) 

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oveipbcpavTot. 8e Trevdrj/J-oves 

-rrdpeiaiv ookcli. (pepovcrcu x^-P LV fJ-o-raiav 

(tifiaKep 5-yts ov uedvffTepov 

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[.Eschylus, Agamemnon. 414-24] 



Farewell ! that glance so swift, so bright, 
Was lightly given, but not in vain ; 
For, day by day, its visioned light 
Must burn within my brain ; 
And this shall be our sole farewell : — 
Let silence guard, with calm control, 
The grief my words were weak to tell, 
And thine unable to console. 

11 
Let silence guard — alas ! how long 
The stillness of the heart shall be, 
Taught to conceal the secret wrong 
That should be told to thee. 
Oh ! hear me, ere the hour be past, 
That stands between me and my fear ; 
And mock not at my words, the last 
These lips may frame for thee to hear. 



i go FAREWELL 

in 
Farewell ! a darkness and a dread 
Have checked my heart and chilled my brow ; 
And there are tears which must be shed — 
Oh ! deeply, wildly, but not now. 
While thou art near, I would not weep : 
They come — they come, the lonely years, 
Whose wings of desolation keep 
Enough of time for tears. 

IV 

Think not this bitterness can cease, 

When these first throbs have burst their way ; — 

Alas ! this parting is like peace, 

Beside the pangs of dark delay, 

That round my spirit move and brood, 

Day after day, a gloomier host, 

Encompassing the solitude, 

Whence thou art longer lost. 



I had strange visible thoughts when last I slept : 

The crowded pangs of passion sunk and crept 

Into the woof of a delirious dream : 

A vision of cold earth and silent air, 

Though it had that which might methinks redeem 

Death from its darkness — thou wast there, 

As thou art always when the speed 

Of the keen stars is full and free ; 

Their light along mine eyes can lead 

The glory of thy memory : 

My slumber must be death indeed 

When it forgets to dream of thee. 






FAREWELL igr 



And yet it was a strange dim dream : — 
I drifted on a mute and arrowy stream, 
Under the midnight, in a helmless boat, 
That lay like a dead thing cast afloat 
On the weight of the waves ; I could feel 

come, 
Many and mighty, but deep and dumb ; 
And the strength of their darkness drifted an I 
The rudderless length of that black canoe, 
As the west wind carries a fragment rent 
From a thunder-cloud's uppermost battlement. 



And this black boat had one expanded sail, 

All woven of wan light, narrow and pale ; 

It clove the dense illimitable shade 

Like a sheet of keen white fire ; the wind, that 

made 
Its motion, became luminous, and glowed 
Through its transparent folds, in silence taking 
Glory, and giving life ; then failed and flowed 
Back to the gloom ; with many a moan forsaking 
The bosom of that sail so wildly woven, 
By whose swift path the lifeless night was cloven 
As by a whirling spear ; beneath, the river 
Repeated its white image — a faint quiver 
Of lifelike undulation rose for ever 
Through its pure warp, like crystal waves that wake 
Beneath the pale path of the water-snake, 
When the green fireflakes through the kindled ocean 
Flash from the swiftness of his sunlit motion. 



i )2 FAREWELL 

VIII 

And thus I drifted, impotently sent 

Down the dim strength of that wild element : 

No memory behind, nor light before ; 

No murmur from the wave, no voices from the 

shore ; 
That shore was indistinct and desolate, 
Though I could see, between me and the sky, 
The black boughs of broad trees, on which the 

weight 
Of leafage was all quiet, dead, and dry ; 
And they did twine themselves above my head 
In clasped contortions, even as if the death 
Had wrung their sapless strength, and visited 
Their withering leaves with agony : beneath, 
Broad weeds, in many an intertangled fold, 
Heavy with dew, hung motionless and cold, 
Clogging the arrowy waves with their green mass, 
Mixed with moist threads of wild and sunless grass, 
Whose passive undulation I could feel 
Cjuiver beneath the boat's retarded keel. 
And ever from above, the branches through, 
Together fell the dead leaves and the dew : 
The dew upon my brow fell chill and mute ; 
The leaves upon the wave, as on a lute 
The fingers of a child ; and where they smote, 
The waters uttered an irregular note, 
Subdued into strange music, as the feet 
Of mourners fall in a deserted street. 

IX 

And thus we drifted on — my boat and I, 
Until there passed a thrill along the sky, 
As of a silent wind ; it clove the gloom 
Asunder as our souls shall cleave the tomb : 



FAREWELL 193 

Day dropped from its wide wings, the heaven, 

unveiled, 
Grew glorious in the west, and I beheld 
That twilight lay behind me ; and, below 
The paleness of its presence, there did glow 
Far chains of kindling mountain-peaks, which 

flung 
The splendour from their brows, like morning dew 
Dashed from an eagle's wings ; their ravines hung 
In purple folds from heaven : the windless blue 
Of deep wide waters slumbered at their feet ; 
I saw the beauty of their peace repeat 
An indistinct and visionary shore, 
Whose glory, though untraced, I felt, or knew 
Had been familiar once, though never more 
To mingle with my soul ; the lustre grew 
Faint in the arch of heaven ; the bright wind slept, 
The darkness came upon me, and I wept ; 
Again — again it wakened, and anew 
Gleamed the far shore ; faint odours came and 

crept 
Over my senses ; the dark current kept 
The souls of the crushed flowers in unison 
With its own motion, yet they died away. 
I saw the closing shadows, fast and grey, 
Sink back upon the hills, but not for ever ; 
Thrice did the force of that far twilight sever 
The cumbrous clouds ; and thrice my moon-like 

sail 
Glowed with new glory ; thrice the hills did veil 
Their sides with purple fire ; but its third close 
Was swiftest, and the place whence it arose 
Grew cold in heaven, as human hearts with pain — 
I watched for its return, and watched in vain. 



194 



FAREWELL 






And I was left alone, but not below 
The boughs of that thick forest ; for the flow 
Of the strong tide had borne my bark within 
A silent city, where its surge could win 
Refuge of rest, in many an arched recess, 
Pierced in the wide walls of pale palaces ; 
Grey dwellings, echo haunted, vast and old, 
So lifeless, that the black wave's iciest bleat 
Felt like warm kisses to their marble cold ; 
So shadowy, that the light, which from the sheet 
Of my fair sail passed down that river-street, 
Could scarcely bid the domes it glided by 
Strike their wan tracery on the midnight sky. 



And this was passed, and through far-opening 

meadows 
That pinnace by its fire-fed sail was guided 
Where sparkled out star-flowers among the shadows 
That dwell upon their greenness, undivided. 
A sickness came across my heart — a stress 
Of a deep, wild, and death-like happiness, 
\Yhich drank my spirit, as the heaven drinks dew, 
Until my frame was feeble ; then I knew, 
Beloved, I was near thee. The silence fell 
From the cold spirit of the earth ; I heard 
The torpor of those melodies, that dwell 
In the gladness of existence, newly stirred ; 
And the roused joy of many a purple bird 
Sprang upwards, cleaving, through the burning 

foam 



• FAREWELL 19 5 

Of the dawn clouds, a path to its blue home ; 

Till, as its quivering ecstasy grew strong, 

It paused upon its plumes — the shower of song 

Falling like water over its wide wings. 

The leaves of the thick forest moved like strings 

Of a wild harp ; a sound of life did pass 

Through the fresh risen blades of the pale grass, 

And rilled its hyacinthine bells, and grew 

Thrilling and deep within their hollow blue. 

Even the black motion of the waters glowed 

With that new joy — they murmured as they flowed ; 

And, when I heard the inarticulate sense 

Of all things waked with that strange eloquence, 

I knew thy spirit made them sing and shine, — 

Their gleaming beauty was but flashed from thine ; 

It passed into my soul, and did renew 

That deathfulness of deep delight. I knew, 

Beloved, I was near thee. I saw thee stand 

On a white rock above that mighty stream, 

Motionless, with the mien of mild command, 

Worn but by the most beautiful ; the gleam 

Of thy bright hair fell o'er thy quiet brow, 

With such keen glory as the golden East 

Pours on the drifted clouds that float and flow 

Round some pure island of moon-fallen snow ; 

And on thy parted lips, the living glow 

Was gathered in one smile — how calm, how slow, 

How coldly fixed, how infinitely fair ! 

Its light fell quivering through the midnight air, 

As the swift moonbeams through a kindling sea — 

Beaming it fell, oh ! wherefore not on me ? 

I saw it wake the night-flowers at thy feet, 

Even till their odorous pulses breathed and beat ; 

It fell on the cold rocks, and on the free 

Unfeeling waves — oh ! wherefore not on me ? 



i 9 6 FAREWELL 



And yet thine eye was on me ; undesigned 

Fell, as it seemed, that glance so coldly kind, 

With just as much of mercy in its ray 

As might forbid its light to turn away — 

To turn from him to whom that glance was all 

His hope could promise or his grief recall ; 

Whose loss must leave such night as can reveal 

Xo farther pang on earth for him to feel. 

And yet it dwelt on me — how dark, how deep, 

That soul-like eye's unfathomable sleep ! 

So sleeps the sunless heaven of holiest height, 

When meteors flash along the calm of night ; 

Rise through its voiceless depths of kindling blue, 

And melt and fall in fire suffused with dew. 

On me, on me — oh ! deeper, wilder yet — 

Mine eyes grew dim beneath the glance they met ; 

My spirit drank its fire as weak winds drink 

The intense and tameless lightning, till they sink, 

Lost in its strength : it pierced my soul, until 

That soul lay lost, and faint, and deadly still, 

Lost in the mingled spasm of love and pain, 

As an eagle beaten down by golden rain 

Of sunset clouds along the burning sky : 

Oh ! turn away, beloved, or I die ! 

Thou didst not turn ; my heart could better brook 

The pride, than pity, of thy steadfast look ; 

Steeled to its scornful flash, but not to see 

Its milder darkness melt, and melt for me. 

I had not much to bear ; the moment's spark 

Of pity trembled, wavered, and was dark. 

It left the look which even love must fear, 

Which would be cold, if it were not severe. 






FAREWELL 197 



Those black resistless waves my bark that bore, 
Paused in thy presence by the illumined shore — 
Paused, but with gathering force and wilder tone, 
They rose, foamed, murmured, thundered, and 

dashed on — 
On, in the lonely gloom, and thou the while 
Didst gaze with that irrevocable smile, 
Xor heed the clasped hand and bitter cry — 
The wild appeal of my vain agony : 
One cry, one pang — it was enough to fill 
My heart, until it shuddered and was still — 
Mute with the grief that deadly trance forgot — 
Cold, as thy spirit that regarded not : 
A moment more, the water's voice was thrown 
Like laughter in mine ears — I was alone. 



Alone, alone ! and I was calm, nor knew 
What quiet it could be that did subdue 
All passion and all pain with its deep stress. 
Mine eyes were dry, my limbs were motionless ; 
My thoughts grew still and shadowy on the brain ; 
The blood grew waveless in the heart and vein ; 
I had no memory, no regret, no dread, 
Xor any other feeling, which the dead 
Have not, except that I was cold as they 
Can be, and know not of it. Far away 
The waters bore me through long winding caves 
Of sunless ice, among whose chasms the waves 
Gurgled in round black pools, that whirled between 
The splintered ice-crag's walls of ghastly green, 
Shattered and cloven in dreadful forms, whose 
height 



ig8 FAREWELL 

Cast fearful streams of strange and lifeless light. 
Veiled with worse horror by the quivering ray, 
Like dead things lighted by their own decay ; 
And round their summits grey wreathed clouds were 

twined, 
Which were still torn to pieces, without wind, 
And tossed and twisted in the soundless air, 
Like tortured thoughts, rebellious in despair. 
And through their gloom I saw vague forms arise, 
Living, but with pale limbs and lightless eyes ; 
And some were cruel in their mien, and wild ; 
And some were mournful, and a few were mild ; 
And some were — what mine eyes could not behold ; 
And some were beautiful ; but all were cold : 
And those that were most ghastly ever grew 
Into a stronger group of life ; the few 
Who were, or pure, or beautiful, did hide 
Their faces in each other's breasts, and died ; 
And quivering fire rose upward from their death, 
Which the foul forms that lived drank in like breath 
Making their own existence mightier : none 
Remained but those I could not look upon ; 
And in that fear I woke. The moon was set, 
Dawn came ; oh ! would that it were darkness yet ! 
Day only drew me from that dream of ill, 
To make me feel how much it could fulfil — 
Scattered the trance, to make the truth succeed, 
And bid the lost in sleep be lost indeed. 
Far o'er the earth the beams of beauty shine ; 
The eyes of hope may welcome them — not mine. 
Hark ! as the kindling splendours broader break, 
The thousand voices of the earth awake : 
The sounds of joy on other lips may dwell ; — 
That dawn hath but one word for mine — farewell ! 



FAREWELL 199 



Farewell ! but not for ever — now 

The marks of pain are on my brow ; 

Once more we have to part, and thou 

Shalt marvel in thy pride to see 

How very calm that brow can be. 

Once more ! then through the darkness deep 

The stream of life may swirl and sweep ; 

I shall not fear, nor feel, nor weep ; 

My soul, upon those billows rolled, 

Shall onlv know that it is cold. 



That vision told, how much of truth ! 
For as I saw the day-beam break 
Behind me thrice on vale and lake, 
So, thrice along the hills of youth 
Thy form my path has crossed ; 
It left the light too brief to bless, 
Too deeply loved, too darkly lost, 
For hope or for forgetfulness. 



Yet shou shalt come the seal to set 
That guards the scroll of pleasures past ; 
One joy, one pang, is wanting yet — 
The loveliest, wildest — both the last. 
I see thee come with kindling cheek, 
And 'wildering smile, and waving hair, 
And glancing eye, whose flash can speak 
When lips are cold and words are weak. 
And what are these to my despair ? 
But things to stir with sobs the sleep 



2oo FAREWELL 

That should be dreamless, deadliest deep, 

From each imprisoned pang to melt 

The fetters forged in vain ; 

And bid the ghastly life be felt, 

We can but feel by pain ; 

To make the soul they cannot save 

Heave wildly in its living grave ; 

And feel the worms that will not cease 

To feed on — what should have been peace. 

XVIII 

Yet come — and let thy glance be dim, 

And let thy words be low ; 
Then turn — for ever turn — from him 

Whose love thou canst not know ; — 
And reck not of the faithful breast, 
Whose thoughts have now no home — nor rest — 
That wreathed, with unregarded light, 
Thy steps by day, and sleep by night. 
Then when the wildest word is past, 
And when mine eyes have looked their last, 
Be every barrier earth can twine 
Cast in between my soul and thine — 
The wave, the wild, the steel, the flame, 
And all that word or will can frame ; 
When God shall call or man shall claim, 
Depart from me, and let thy name 
Be uttered in mine ears with dread, 
As only meaning — what is dead — 
Like some lost sound of long ago, 
That grief is learning not to know ; 
And I will walk the world as one 
Who hath but little left to feel ; 
And smile to see affection shun 






FAREWELL 2QI 

The moveless brow and heart of steel : 

Thou in thv pride alone shalt know 

What left them lifeless years ago ; 

Thou mavest recall the pan?, the hour 

That gave mv soul that pain of power ; 
\nd deem that darkened spirit free- 
ly ! even from the love of thee. 



THE DEPARTED LIGHT 

(AGE 21) 

Thou know'st the place where purple rocks receive 

The deepened silence of the pausing stream ; 
And myrtles and white olives interweave 

Their cool, grey shadows with the azure gleam 
Of noontide ; and pale temple-columns cleave 

Those waves with shafts of light (as, through a 
dream 
Of sorrow, pierce the memories of loved hours — 

Cold and fixed thoughts that will not pass away) 
All chapleted with wreaths of marble flowers, 

Too calm to live — too lovely to decay. 
And hills rise round, pyramidal and vast, 

Like tombs built of blue heaven, above the clay 
Of those who worshipped here, whose steps have 
past 

To silence — leaving o'er the waters cast 
The light of their religion. There, at eve, 

That gentle dame would walk, when night-birds 
make 
The starry myrtle-blossoms pant and heave 

With waves of ceaseless song ; she would awake 
The lulled air with her kindling thoughts, and leave 

Her voice's echo on the listening lake ; 
The quenched rays of her beauty would deceive 

Its depths into quick joy. Hill, wave, and brake 






THE DEPARTED LIGHT 203 

Grew living as she moved : I did believe 
That thev were lovely, only for her sake ; 

But now— she is not there— at least, the chill 
Hath passed upon her which no sun shall break. 

Stranger, my feet must shun the lake and hill :— 

Seek them— but dream not they are lovely still. 



AGOXIA 

(AGE 21) 

When our delight is desolate, 

And hope is overthrown ; 
And when the heart must bear the weight 

Of its own love alone ; 

And when the soul, whose thoughts are deep, 

Must guard them unrevealed, 
And feel that it is full, but keep 

That fulness calm and sealed ; 

When Love's long glance is dark with pain — 

With none to meet or cheer ; 
And words of woe are wild in vain 

For those who cannot hear ; 

When earth is dark, and memory 

Pale in the heaven above 
The heart can bear to lose its joy, 

But not to cease to love. 

But what shall guide the choice within, 

Of guilt or agony, — 
When to remember is to sin, 

And to forget — to die ? 



THE LAST SOXG OF ARIOX 

(AGE 22) 
lib \17eias fibpov drjdovos. 

KVKVOV hlK1)V 

tqv vo-tcltov ixeX^acra davdcriuov yoov. 

[iEsch., A gam., ii45> I 444l 

The circumstances which led to the introduction of 
Arion to his Dolphin are differently related by Herodotus 
and Lucian. Both agree that he was a musician of the 
highest order, born at Methvmna, in the island of Lesbos, 
and that he acquired fame and fortune at the court of 
Periander of Corinth. Herodotus affirms that he became 
desirous of seeing Italv and Sicily, and having made a 
considerable fortune in those countries, hired a Corinthian 
vessel to take him back to Corinth. When halt-way 
over the gulf, the mariners conceived the idea of seizing 
the monev, and throwing the musician into the sea. 
\rion started several objections, but finding that tnev 
were overruled, requested that he might be permitted 
to sing them a song. Permission bemg granted, he 
wreathed himself and his harp with flowers— sang, says 
Lucian, in the sweetest way in the world, and leaped into 
the sea. The historian proceeds, with less confidence, to 
state that a dolphin carried him safe ashore. Lucian 
agrees with this account, except in one particular ; he 
makes no mention of the journey to Sicily, and supposes 
\rion to have been returning from Corinth to his native 
Lesbos, when the attack was made on him. I have taken 
him to Sicily with Herodotus, but prefer sending him 
straight home. He is more interesting returning to his 
country than paving his respects at the court of Corinth. 



2o6 THE LAST SOXG OF ARION 



Look not upon me thus impatiently, 

Ye children of the deep ; 
My lingers fail, and tremble as they try 
To stir the silver sleep with song, 
Which, underneath the surge ye sweep, 
These lulled and listless chords must keep — 
Alas — how long ! 



The salt sea wind has touched my harp ; its thrill 
Follows the passing plectrum, low, and chill ; 
Woe for the wakened pulse of Ocean's breath, 
That injures these with silence — me, with death. 
Oh ! wherefore stirred the wind on Pindus' chain, 
When joyful morning called me to the main ? 
Flashed the keen oars — our canvas, filled^and free, 
Shook like white fire along the purple sea ; 
Fast from the helm the shattering surges flew 
Pale gleamed our path along their cloven blue ; 
And orient path, wild wind, and purple wave, 
Pointed and urged and guided — to the grave. 



Ye winds ! by far Methymna's steep, 

I loved your voices long ; 
And gave your spirits power to keep 

Wild syllables of song. 
When, folded in the crimson shade 

That veils Olympus' cloud-like whiteness, 
The slumber of your life was laid 

In the lull of its own lightness, 






THE LAST SOXG OF ARIOX 207 

Poised on the voiceless ebb and flow 

Of the beamy-billowed summer snow, 

Still at my call ye came — 

Through the thin wreaths of undulating flame 

That, panting in their heavenly home, 

With crimson shadows flush the foam 

Of Adramyttium, round the ravined hill, 

Awakened with one deep and living thrill ; 

Ye came, and, with your steep descent, 

The hollow forests waved and bent ; 

Their leaf-lulled echoes caught the winding call 
Through incensed glade and rosy dell, 
Mixed with the breath-like pause and swell 

Of waters following in eternal fall, 
In azure waves, that just betray 
The music quivering in their spray, 
Beneath its silent sevenfold arch of day ; 

High in pale precipices hung 

The lifeless rocks of rigid marble rung, 
Waving the cedar crests along their brows sublime ; 

Swift ocean heard beneath, and flung 
His tranced and trembling waves in measured time 
Along his golden sands with faintly falling chime. 



Alas ! had ye forgot the joy I gave. 

That ye did hearken to my call this day ? 
Oh ! had ye slumbered — when your sleep could 

save, 
I would have fed you with sweet sound for aye ; 
Now ye have risen to bear my silent soul away. 



20S THE LAST SOXG OF ARION 



I heard ye murmur through the Etnaean caves, 
When joyful dawn had touched the topmost 
dome ; — 

I saw ye light, along the mountain waves 
Far to the east, your beacon-fires of foam, 
And deemed ye rose to bear your weary minstrel 
home. 

Home ? it shall be that home indeed, 

Where tears attend and shadows lead 
The steps of man's return ; 

Home ! woe is me, no home I need, 
Except the urn. 

Behold — beyond these billows' flow, 

I see Methymna's mountains glow ; 

Long, long desired, their peaks of light 

Flash on my sickened soul and sight, 

And heart and eye almost possess 

Their vales of long-lost pleasantness ; 

But eye and heart, before they greet 

That land, shall cease to burn and beat. 

I see, between the sea and land, 

The winding belt of golden sand ; 

But never may my footsteps reach 

The brightness of that Lesbian beach, 

Unless, with pale and listless limb, 

Stretched by the water's utmost brim, 

Naked, beneath my native sky, 

With bloodless brow, and darkened eye, 

An unregarded ghastly heap, 

For bird to tear and surge to sweep — 

Too deadly calm — too coldly weak, 

To reck of billow, or of beak. 






THE LAST SOXG OF ARIOX 209 



My native isle ! when I have been 

Reft of my love, and far from tbee. 
My dreams have traced, my soul hath seen 

Thy shadow on the sea, 
And waked in joy, but not to seek 
Thy winding strand or purple peak ; 
For strand and peak had waned away 
Before the desolating day. 

On Acro-Cornith redly risen, 
That burned above T^gina's bay, 

And laughed upon my palace-prison. 
How soft on other eyes it shone, 
When light, and land, were all their own ! 
I looked across the eastern brine, 
And knew that morning was not mine. 



But thou art near me now, dear isle ! 
And I can see the lightning smile 
By thy broad beach, that flashes free 
Along the pale lips of the sea. 
Near, nearer, louder, breaking, beating, 

The billows fall with ceaseless shower ; 
It comes, — dear isle ! — our hour of meeting- 

O God ! across the soft eyes of the hour 
Is thrown a black and blinding veil ; 
Its steps are swift, its brow is pale, 
Before its face, behold — there stoop, 
From their keen wings, a darkening troop 
Of forms like unto it — that fade 
Far in unfathomable shade ; 
Confused, and limitless, and hollow, 
It comes, but there are none that follow — 

P 



to THE LAST SOXG OF ARWX 

It pauses, as they paused, but not 
Like them to pass away ; 

For I must share its shadowy lot, 

And walk with it, where, wide and grey, 
That caverned twilight chokes the day, 

And, underneath the horizon's starless line, 

Shall drink, like feeble dew, its life and mine. 



Farewell, sweet harp ! for lost and quenched 

Thy swift and sounding fire shall be ; 
-And these faint lips be mute and blenched, 

That once so fondly followed thee. 
Oh ! deep within the winding shell 
The slumbering passions haunt and dwell, 
As memories of its ocean tomb 
Still gush within its murmuring gloom ; 
But closed the lips, and faint the fingers 

Of fiery touch, and woven words, 
To rouse the flame that clings and fingers 

Along the loosened chords. 
Farewell ! thou silver sounding lute — 

I must not wake thy wildness more, 
When I and thou lie dead, and mute, 

Upon the hissing shore. 

IX 

The sounds I summon fall and roll 
In waves of memory, o'er my soul ; 
And there are words I should not hear, 
That murmur in my dying ear, 
Distant all, but full and clear, 
Like a child's footstep in its fear, 
Falling in Colonos' wood, 



THE LAST SOXG OF ARIOX 211 

When the leaves are sere ; 

And waves of black, tumultuous blood 
Heave and gush about my heart ; 

Each a deep and dismal mirror 

Flashing back its broken part 

Of visible and changeless terror ; 
And fiery foam-globes leap and shiver 
Along that crimson, living river : 

Its surge is hot, its banks are black, 
And weak, wild thoughts that once were bright, 
And dreams, and hopes of dead delight, 

Drift on its desolating track, 
And lie along its shore : 

Oh ! who shall give that brightness back, 
Or those lost hopes restore ? 

Or bid that light of dreams be shed 

On the glazed eyeballs of the dead ? 
The lonely search of love may cease, 

Bourned by the side of earthly graves ; 
But sorrow finds no place of peace 

Amidst the wildly walking waves. 
Oh ! many a thought my soul has sent, 

And many a dim and yearning dream — 
They seem to tread, with steps intent, 
Their hopeless haunt of long lament ; 

Beside the shore of Cynoseme 1 , 
The bright oars beat by the sea-swan's roost ; 
They are waked with the cry of the keen keleust 2 , 
But the life of the earth and the smile of the sky- 
Are above a cold heart and a lustreless eve. 



1 Cynoseme, a promontory in the Hellespont. 

2 The ' keleust ', in the Greek galleys, timed the stroke of the oar. 



THE LAST SOXG OF ARION 



That light of dreams ! My soul hath cherished 

One dream too fondly, and too long ; 
Hope — dread — desire — delight have perished, 

And every thought whose voice was strong 

To curb the heart to good, or wrong ; 
But that sweet dream is with me still, 
Like the shade of an eternal hill, 

Cast on a calm and narrow lake, 
That hath no room except for it — and heaven : 

It doth not leave me, nor forsake ; 
And often with my soul hath striven 
To quench or calm its worst distress, 
Its silent sense of loneliness. 

And must it leave me now ? 
Alas ! dear lady, where my steps must tread, 

What 'vails the echo or the glow, 
That word can leave, or smile can shed, 
Among the soundless, lightless dead ? 
Soft o'er my brain the lulling dew shall fall, 
While I sleep on, beneath the heavy sea, 
Coldlv. — I shall not hear though thou shouldst call. 
Deeply — I shall not dream — not even of thee. 



And when my thoughts to peace depart 

Beneath the unpeaceful foam, 
Wilt thou remember him, whose heart 

Hath ceased to be thy home ? 
Nor bid thy breast its love subdue 
For one no longer fond nor true ; 
Thine ears have heard a treacherous tale, 
Mv words were false — mv faith was frail. 



THE LAST SONG OF ARION 213 

I feel the grasp of death's white hand 

Laid heavy on my brow, 
And from the brain those fingers brand, 
The chords of memory drop like sand, 
And faint in muffled murmurs die 
The passionate word, the fond reply, 

The deep redoubled vow. 
Oh ! dear Ismene, flushed and bright 

Although thy beauty burn, 
It cannot wake to love's delight 
The crumbling ashes, quenched and white, 
Nor pierce the apathy of night 

Within the marble urn : 
Let others wear the chains I wore, 

And worship at the unhonoured shrine — 
For me, the chain is strong no more, 

No more the voice divine : 
Go forth, and look on those that live, 
And robe thee with the love they give, 

But think no more of mine ; 
Or think of all that pass thee by, 
With heedless heart and unveiled eye, 
That none can love thee less than I. 



Farewell ! but do not grieve ; thy pain 

Would seek me where I sleep ; 
Thy tears would pierce, like rushing rain, 

The stillness of the deep. 

Remember, if thou wilt, but do not weep. 
Farewell, beloved hills, and native isle : 
Farewell to earth's delight, to heaven's smile ; 
Farewell to sounding air, to purple sea ; 
Farewell to light — to life — to love — to thee ! 



THE HILLS OF CARRARA 

(AGE 22) 



Amidst a vale of springing leaves, 

Where spreads the vine its wandering root, 
And cumbrous fall the autumnal sheaves, 
And olives shed their sable fruit, 
And gentle winds and waters never mute 
Make of young boughs and pebbles pure 

One universal lute, 
And bright birds, through the myrtle copse obscure, 
Pierce, with quick notes, and plumage dipped in dew, 
The silence and the shade of each lulled avenue, — 



Far in the depths of voiceless skies, 

Where calm and cold the stars are strewed, 

The peaks of pale Carrara rise. 

Nor sound of storm, nor whirlwind rude. 

Can break their chill of marble solitude ; 
The crimson lightnings round their crest 

1 The'moun tains of Carrara, from which nearly all the marble now 
used in sculpture is derived, form by far the finest piece of hill scenery 
I know in Italy. They rise out of valleys of exquisite richness, being 
themselves singularly desolate, magnificent in form, and noble in 
elevation ; but without forests on their flanks, and without one blade 
of grass on their summits. 

214 









THE HILLS OF CARRARA 215 

May hold their fiery feud— 

They hear not, nor reply ; their chasmed rest 
No flowret decks, nor herbage green, nor breath 
Of moving thing can change their atmosphere of 
death. 



But far beneath, in folded sleep, 
Faint forms of heavenly life are laid, 

With pale brows and soft eyes, that keep 
Sweet peace of unawakened shade ; 

Whose wreathed limbs, in robes of rock arrayed* 
Fall like white waves on human thought, 

In fitful dreams displayed ; 
Deep through their secret homes of slumber sought, 
They rise immortal, children of the day, 
Gleaming with godlike forms on earth, and her 
decay. 



Yes, where the bud hath brightest germ, 

And broad the golden blossoms glow, 
There glides the snake, and works the worm, 

And black the earth is laid below. 
Ah ! think not thou the souls of men to know, 

By outward smiles in wildness worn : 
The words that jest at woe 

Spring not less lightly, though the heart be torn— 
The mocking heart, that scarcely dares confess, 
Even to itself, the strength of its own bitterness. 



216 THE HILLS OF CARRARA 



Nor deem that they whose words are cold, 
Whose brows are dark, have hearts of steel ; 

The couchant strength, untraced, untold, 
Of thoughts they keep, and throbs they feel, 
May need an answering music to unseal ; 

Who knows what waves may stir the silent sea, 
Beneath the low appeal, 

From distant shores, of winds unfelt by thee ? 

What sounds may wake within the winding shell, 

Responsive to the charm of those who touch it well ! 



CHARITIE 

(AGE 2 3 ) 



The beams of morning are renewed, 
The valley laughs their light to see 

And earth is bright with gratitude, 
And heaven with Charitie. 



11 

Oh, dew of heaven ! Oh, light of earth ! 

Fain would our hearts be filled with thee, 
Because nor darkness comes, nor dearth, 

About the home of Charitie. 



God guides the stars their wandering way, 
He seems to cast their courses free ; 

But binds unto Himself for aye. 
And all their chains are Charitie. 



IV 



When first He stretched the signed zone, 
And heaped the hills, and barred the sea, 

Then Wisdom sat beside His throne ; 
But His own Word was Charitie. 

217 



2i S CHARITIE 



An I still, through every age and hour, 
Of things that were and things that be, 

Are breathed the presence and the power 
Of everlasting Charitie. 

VI 

By noon and night, by sun and shower, 
By dews that fall and winds that flee, 

On grove and field, on fold and flower. 
Is shed the peace of Charitie. 

VII 

The violets light the lonely hill, 
The fruitful furrows load the lea ; 

Man's heart alone is sterile still 
For lack of lowlv Charitie. 



He walks a weary vale within — 
No lamp of love in heart hath he ; 

His steps are death, his thoughts are sin, 
For lack of gentle Charitie. 

IX 

Daughter of heaven ! we dare not lift 
The dimness of our eyes to thee ; 

Oh, pure and God-descended gift ! 
Oh, spotless, perfect Charitie ! 

x 

Yet forasmuch thy brow is crossed 

With blood-drops from the deathful tree, 

We take thee for our only trust, 
Oh, dying Charitie ! 



CHARITIE 219 



Ah ! Hope, Endurance, Faith — ye fail like death, 
But Love an everlasting crown receiveth ; 

For she is Hope, and Fortitude, and Faith, 

Who all things hopeth, beareth, and believeth. 



THE BATTLE OF MONTENOTTE 

(AGE 2 4 ) 

' My patent of nobility ' (said Napoleon) ' dates from the Battle 
of Montenotte.' 



Slow lifts the night her starry host 

Above the mountain chain 
That guards the grey Ligurian coast, 

And lights the Lombard plain ; 
That plain, that, softening on the sight, 
Lies blue beneath the balm of night, 
With lapse of rivers lulled, that glide 
In lustre broad of living tide ; 
Or pause for hours of peace beside 
The shores they double, and divide, 
To feed with heaven's reverted hue 
The clustered vine's expanding blue. 
With crystal flow, for evermore, 
They lave a blood -polluted shore ; 
Ah ! not the snows, whose wreaths renew 
Their radiant depth with stainless dew, 
Can bid their banks be pure, or bless 
The guilty land with holiness. 



In stormy waves whose wrath can reach 
The rocks that back the topmost beach, 






THE BATTLE OF MONTENOTTE 221 

The midnight sea falls wild and deep 
Around Savona's marble steep, 

And Voltri's crescent bay. 
What fiery lines are these that flash 
Where fierce the breakers curl and crash, 

And fastest flies the spray ? 
No moon has risen to mark the night, 
Xor such the flakes of phosphor light 
That wake along the southern wave, 
By Baiae's cliff and Capri's cave, 

Until the dawn of day : 
The phosphor flame is soft and green 
Beneath the hollow surges seen ; 

But these are dyed with dusky red 

Far on the fitful surface shed ; 
And evermore, their glance between, 
The mountain gust is deeply stirred 
With low vibration, felt, and heard, 
Which winds and leaves confuse, in vain ; 
It gathers through their maze again, 
Redoubling round the rocks it smote, 
Till falls in fear the night-bird's note ; 
And every sound beside is still, 
But plash of torrent from the hill, 
And murmur by the branches made 
That bend above its bright cascade. 



Hark, hark ! the hollow Apennine 

Laughs in his heart afar ; 
Through all his vales he drinks like wine 

The deepening draught of war ; 
For not with doubtful burst, or slow, 
That thunder shakes his breathless snow. 



222 THE BATTLE OF MOXTEXOTTE 

But ceaseless rends, with rattling stroke, 
The veils of white volcano-smoke 
That o'er Legino's ridges rest 1 , 

And writhe in Merla's vale : 
There lifts the Frank his triple crest, 
Crowned with its plumage pale ; 
Though, clogged and dyed with stains of death, 
It scarce obeys the tempest's breath ; 
And darker still, and deadlier press 
The war-clouds on its weariness. 
Far by the bright Bormida's banks 
The Austrian cheers his chosen ranks. 
In ponderous waves, that, where they check 
Rise o'er their own tumultuous wreck, 
Recoiling — crashing — gathering still 
In rage around that Island hill, 

^Tiere stand the moveless Few — 
Few — fewer as the moments flit ; 
Though shaft and shell their columns split 

As morning melts the dew, 
Though narrower yet their guarding grows, 
And hot the heaps of carnage close, 

1 The Austrian centre, 10,000 strong, had been advanced to 
Montenotte, in order, if possible, to cut asunder the French force, 
which was following the route of the Comiche. It encountered at 
Montenotte only Colonel Rampon, at the head of 1,200 men, who 
retiring to the redoubt at Monte Legino, defended it against the 
repeated attacks of the Austrians until nightfall — making his soldiers 
swear to |conquer or die. The Austrian General Roccavina was 
severely wounded, and his successor, D'Argenteau,refused to continue 
the attack. Napoleon was lying at Savona, but set out after sunset 
with the dhisions of Massena and Serrurier, and occupied the heights 
at Montenotte At daybreak the Imperialists found themselves 
surrounded on all sides, and were totally defeated, with the loss of 
two thousand prisoners, and above one thousand killed and wounded 
(April 12, 1796). 

This victory, the first gained by Napoleon, was the foundation of 
the success of the Italian campaign. Had Colonel Ram- 
pon been compelled to retire from Monte Legino, the fate of the 
world would probably have been changed. — vide Alison, ch. 20. 



THE BATTLE OF MOXTEXOTTE 223 

In death's faint shade and fiery shock, 
They stand, one ridge of living rock, 
Which steel may rend, and wave may wear, 
And bolt may crush, and blast may tear, 

But none can strike from its abiding : 
The flood, the flash, the steel, may bear 
Perchance destruction — not despair, 

And death — but not dividing. 
What matter ? while their ground they keep, 
Though here a column — there a heap — 
Though these in wrath — and those in sleep, 

If all are there. 



Charge D'Argenteau ! Fast flies the night, 
The snows look wan with inward light : 
Charge, D'Argenteau ! Thy kingdom's power 
Wins not again this hope — nor hour : 
The force — the fate of France is thrown 

Behind those feeble shields ; 
That ridge of death-defended stone 

Were worth a thousand fields ! 
In vain — in vain ! Thy broad array 
Breaks on their front of spears like spray : 
Thine hour hath struck — the dawning red 
Is o'er thy wavering standards shed ; 
A darker dye thy folds shall take 
Before its utmost beams can break. 



Out of its Eastern fountains 
The river of day is drawn. 

And the shadows of the mountains 
March downward from the dawn- 



224 THE BATTLE OF MOXTEXOTTE 

The shadows of the ancient hills, 

Shortening as they go, 
Down beside the dancing rills 

Wearily and slow. 
The morning wind the mead hath kissed 

It leads in narrow lines 
The shadows of the silver mist, 

To pause among the pines. 
But where the sun is calm and hot, 

And where the wind hath peace, 
There is a shade that pauseth not, 

And a sound that doth not cease. 
The shade is like a sable river 

Broken with sparkles bright ; 
The sound is like dead leaves that shiver 

In the decav of night. 



VI 



Together came with pulse-like beat 

The darkness, and the tread — 
A motion calm — a murmur sweet, 

Yet dreadful both, and dread ; 
Poised on the hill — a fringed shroud, 

It wavered like the sea ; 
Then clove itself, as doth a cloud, 

In sable columns three. 
They fired no shot — they gave no sign- 

They blew no battle-peal ; 
But down they came, in deadly line, 

Like whirling bars of steel. 
As fades the forest from its place, 

Beneath the lava flood, 
The Austrian host, before their face, 

Was melted into blood : 



THE BATTLE OF MOXTEXOTTE 225 

They moved, as moves the solemn night, 

With lulling, and release ; 
Before them, all was fear and flight, 

Behind them, all was peace : 
Before them flashed the roaring glen 

With bayonet and brand ; 
Behind them lay the wrecks of men, 

Like seaweed on the sand. 



But still, along the cumbered heath, 

A vision strange and fan- 
Did fill the eyes that failed in death, 

And darkened in despair ; 
Where blazed the battle wild and hot, 

A youth, deep-eyed and pale, 
Did move amidst the storm of shot, 

As the fire of God through hail, 
He moved, serene as spirits are, 

And dying eyes might see 
Above his head a crimson star 

Burning continually. 



With bended head, and breathless tread, 

The traveller tracks that silent shore, 
Oppressed with thoughts that seek the dead, 

And visions that restore ; 
Or lightly trims his pausing bark, 
Where lies the ocean lulled and dark, 
Beneath the marble mounds that stay 
The strength of many a bending bay, 

Q 



226 THE BATTLE OF MONTENOTTE 

And lace with silver lines the flow 
Of tideless waters to and fro, 

As drifts the breeze, or dies ; 
That scarce recalls its lightness, left 
In many a purple-curtained cleft, 
Whence to the softly lighted skies 
Low flowers lift up their dark blue eyes, 
To bring by fits the deep perfume 
Alternate, as the bending bloom 

Diffuses or denies. 
Above, the slopes of mountain shine, 
"Where glows the citron, glides the vine, 
And breathes the myrtle wildly bright, 
And aloes lift their lamps of light, 
And ceaseless sunbeams clothe the calm 
Of orbed pine and vaulted palm ; 
Dark trees, that sacred order keep, 
And rise in temples o'er the steep — 
Eternal shrines, whose columned shade 
Though winds may shake, and frosts may fade, 
And dateless years subdue, 
Is softly builded, ever new, 

By angel hands, and wears the dread 
And stillness of a sacred place — 
A sadness of celestial grace — 

A shadow, God-inhabited. 



And all is peace, around, above, 

The air all balm — the light all love — 

Enduring love, that burns and broods 

Serenely o'er these solitudes ; 

Or pours at intervals a part 

Of Heaven upon the wanderer's heart, 

Whose subject soul and quiet thought 



THE BATTLE OF MONTENOTTE 227 

Are open to be touched, or taught, 
By mute address of bud and beam, 
Of purple peak and silver stream — 
By sounds that fall at Nature's choice, 
And things whose being is their voice, 
Innumerable tongues that teach 

The will and ways of God to men, 
In waves that beat the lonely beach, 

And winds that haunt the homeless glen, 
Where they, who ruled the rushing deep, 

The restless and the brave, 
Have left along their native steep 

The ruin and the grave. 



And he who gazes while the day 
Departs along the boundless bay, 
May find against its fading streak 
The shadow of a single peak, 

Seen only when the surges smile, 
And all the heaven is clear, 

That sad and solitary isle l , 
"Where, captive, from his red career, 
He sank — who shook the hemisphere ; 
Then, turning from the hollow sea, 

May trace, across the crimsoned height 
That saw his earliest victory, 

The purple rainbow's resting light, 
And the last lines of storm that fade 
Within the peaceful evening shade. 

1 Elba, which is said to be visible from most of the elevated points 
of this coast. From the citadel of Genoa I have seen what was 
asserted to be Elba. I believe it to have been Corsica. 



A WALK IN CHAMOUNI 

(age 24) 

Together on the valley, white and sweet, 
The dew and silence of the morning lay : 

Only the tread of my disturbing feet 

Did break, with printed shade and patient beat, 
The crisped stillness of the meadow way ; 

And frequent mountain waters, welling up 

In crystal gloom beneath some mouldering stone, 

Curdled in many a flower-enamelled cup, 

Whose soft and purple border, scarcely blown, 
Budded beneath their touch, and trembled to their 
tone. 



The fringed branches of the swinging pines 

Closed o'er my path ; a darkness in the sky, 
That barred its dappled vault with rugged lines, 
And silver network 1 — interwoven signs 

Of dateless age and deathless infancy ; 
Then through their aisles a motion and a brightness 

Kindled and shook — the weight of shade they bore 
On their broad arms was lifted by the lightness 
Of a soft, shuddering wind, and what they wore 

Of jewelled dew, was strewed about the forest floor. 



l The white mosses on the meleze, when the tree is very old, are 
singularly beautiful, resembling frost-workof silver. 






A WALK IN CHAMOUNI 229 

That thrill of gushing wind and glittering rain 
Onward amid the woodland hollows went ; 

And bade bv turns the drooping boughs complain 

O'er the brown earth, that drank in hghtless stain 
The beauty of their burning ornament ; 

And then the roar of an enormous river 
Came on the intermittent air uplifted ; 

Broken with haste, I saw its sharp waves shiver, 
And its wild weight in white disorder drifted, 
Where by its beaten shore the rocks lay heaped 
and rifted. 

But vet unshattered, from an azure arch 1 

Came forth the nodding waters, wave by wave, 
In silver lines of modulated march, 
Through a broad desert, which the frost-winds parch 

Like hre, and the resounding ice-falls pave 
With pallid ruin— wastes of rock— that share 

Earth's calm and ocean's fruitlessness 2 .— Lndone 
The work of ages lies— through whose despair 
Their swift procession dancing in the sun, 

The white and whirling waves pass mocking one 
by one. 

And with their voice— unquiet melody- 
Is filled the hollow of their mighty portal, 

As shells are with remembrance of the sea ; 

So might the eternal arch of Eden be 

With angels' wail for those whose crowns immortal 

The grave-dust dimmed in passing. There are here, 
With azure wings, and scimitars of hre, 

Forms as of Heaven, to guard the gate, and rear 



1 Source of the Arveron. 

" irapa. dlv aAb? irpvyeroio. — Iliad, A , 327. 



2 30 A WALK IX CHAMOUXI 

Their burning arms afar — a boundless choir 
Beneath the sacred shafts of many a mountain spire. 

Countless as clouds, dome, prism, and pyramid 
Pierced through the mist of morning scarce with 
drawn, 

Signing the gloom like beacon-fires, half hid 

By storm — part quenched in billows — or forbid 
Their function by the fulness of the dawn : 

And melting mists and threads of purple rain 
Fretted the fair sky where the east was red, 

Gliding like ghosts along the voiceless plain, 
In rainbow hues around its coldness shed, 
Like thoughts of loving hearts that haunt about 
the dead. 

And over these, as pure as if the breath 
Of God had called them newly into light, 

Free from all stamp of sin, or shade of death, 

With which the old creation travaileth, 

Rose the white mountains, through the infinite 
Of the calm, concave heaven ; inly bright 

With lustre everlasting and intense ; 
Serene and universal as the night, 

But yet more solemn with pervading sense 

Of the deep stillness of Omnipotence. 

Deep stillness ! for the throbs of human thought, 
Count not the lonely night that pauses here ; 

And the white arch of morning findeth not, 

By chasm or alp, a spirit or a spot 

Its call can waken or its beams can cheer : 

There are no eyes to watch, no lips to meet 
Its messages with prayer — no matin-bell 



A WALK IN CHAMOUXI 231 

Touches the delicate air with summons sweet ; — 
That smoke was of the avalanche x ; that knell 
Came from a tower of ice that into fragments fell. 

Ah ! why should that be comfortless — why cold, 
Which is so near to Heaven ? The lowly earth, 

Out of the blackness of its charnel mould, 

Feeds its fresh life, and lights its banks with gold ; 
But these proud summits, in eternal dearth, 
Whose solitudes nor mourning know, nor mirth, 

Rise passionless and pure, but all unblest : 

Corruption — must it root the brightest birth ? 

And is the life that bears its fruitage best 

One neither of supremacy nor rest ? 

1 The vapour or dust of dry snow which rises after the fall of a 
large avalanche, sometimes looks in the distance not unlike the smoke 
of a village. 



LA MADONNA DELL' ACQUA 

(AGE 25) 

In the centre of the lagoon between Venice and the 
mouths of the Brenta, supported on a few mouldering 
piles, stands a small shrine dedicated to the Madonna 
dell' Acqua, which the gondolier never passes without a 
prayer. 

Around her shrine no earthly blossoms blow, 

No footsteps fret the pathway to and fro ; 

No sign nor record of departed prayer, 

Print of the stone, nor echo of the air ; 

Worn by the lip, nor wearied by the knee — 

Only a deeper silence of the sea ; 

For there, in passing, pause the breezes bleak, 

And the foam fades, and all the waves are weak. 

The pulse-like oars in softer fall succeed, 

The black prow falters through the wild seaweed — 

Where, twilight-borne, the minute thunders reach, 

Of deep-mouthed surf, that bays by Lido's beach, 

With intermittent motion traversed far, 

And shattered glancing of the western star, 

Till the faint storm-bird on the heaving flow 

Drops in white circles, silently like snow. 

Not here the ponderous gem nor pealing note, 

Dim to adorn — insentient to adore — 

But purple-dyed, the mists of evening float, 

In ceaseless incense from the burning floor 

Of ocean, and the gathered gold of heaven 

Laces its sapphire vault, and, early given, 

232 






LA MADONNA DELL' ACQUA 233 

The white rays of the rushing firmament 

Pierce the blue-quivering night through wreath or 

rent 
Of cloud inscrutable and motionless — 
Hectic and wan, and moon-companioned cloud ! 
Oh ! lone Madonna — angel of the deep — 
When the night falls, and deadly winds are loud, 
Will not thy love be with us while we keep 
Our watch upon the waters, and the gaze 
Of thy soft eyes, that slumber not, nor sleep ? 
Deem not thou, stranger, that such trust is vain ; 
Faith walks not on these weary waves alone, 
Though weakness dread or apathy disdain 
The spot which God has hallowed for His own. 
They sin who pass it lightly — ill divining 
The glory of this place of bitter prayer ; 
And hoping against hope, and self-resigning, 
And reach of faith, and wrestling with despair. 
And resurrection of the last distress, 
Into the sense of Heaven, when earth is bare, 
And of God's voice, when man's is comfortless. 



THE OLD SEAMAN 

(AGE 2S) 



You ask me why mine eyes are bent 

So darkly on the sea, 
While others watch the azure hills 

That lengthen on the lee. 



The azure hills — they soothe the sight 

That fails along the foam ; 
And those may hail their nearing height 

Who there have hope or home. 



But I a loveless path have trod — 

A beaconless career ; 
My hope hath long been all with God, 

And all mv home is — here. 



The deep by day, the heaven by night 
Roll onward, swift and dark ; 

Nor leave my soul the dove's delight 
Of olive branch or ark. 






THE OLD SEA MAX 235 



For more than gale, or gulf, or sand, 
I've proved that there may be 

Worse treachery on the steadfast land 
Than variable sea. 

VI 

A danger worse than bay or beach — 
A falsehood more unkind — 

The treachery of a governed speech, 
And an ungoverned mind. 

VII 

The treachery of the deadly mart 
Where human souls are sold ; 

The treachery of the hollow heart 
That crumbles as we hold. 



Those holy hills and quiet lakes — 
Ah ! wherefore should I find 

This weary fever-fit, that shakes 
Their image in my mind ? 

IX 

The memory of a streamlet's din, 
Through meadows daisy-drest — 

Another might be glad therein, 
And yet I cannot rest. 

x 

I cannot rest unless it be 

Beneath the churchyard yew ; 

But God, I think, hath yet for me 
More earthly work to do. 



236 THE OLD SEAMAN 



And therefore with a quiet will 

I breathe the ocean air, 
And bless the voice that calls me still 

To wander and to bear. 



Let others seek their native sod, 
"Who there have hearts to cheer ; 

My soul hath long been given to God 
And all my home is — here. 



THE ALPS 

SEEN FROM MARENGO 
(age 25) 

The glory of a cloud — without its wane ; 

The stillness of the earth — but not its gloom ; 
The loveliness of life — without its pain ; 

The peace — but not the hunger — of the tomb f 
Ye Pyramids of God ! around whose bases 

The sea foams noteless in his narrow cup ; 

And the unseen movements of the earth send up 
A murmur which your lulling snow effaces 
Like the deer's footsteps. Thrones imperishable ! 
About whose adamantine steps the breath 
Of dying generations vanisheth, 
Less cognizable than clouds ; and dynasties, 

Less glorious and more feeble than the array 
Of your frail glaciers, unregarded rise, 

Totter and vanish. In the uncounted day, 
When earth shall tremble as the trump unwraps 

Their sheets of slumber from the crumbling dead, 
And the quick, thirsty fire of judgment laps 

The loud sea from the hollow of his bed — 
Shall not your God spare you, to whom He gave 

No share nor shadow of man's crime, or fate ; 

Nothing to render, nor to expiate ; 
Untainted by his life — untrusted with his grave ? 



MONT BLANC REVISITED 

(age 26) 

O Mount beloved, mine eyes again 
Behold the twilight's sanguine stain 
Along thy peaks expire. 

Mount beloved, thy frontier waste 

1 seek with a religious haste 
And reverent desire. 

They meet me, 'midst thy shadows cold, 

Such thoughts as holy men of old 

Amid the desert found ; — 

Such gladness, as in Him they felt 

Who with them through the darkness dwelt, 

And compassed all around. 

Ah ! happy, if His will were so, 
To give me manna here for snow, 
And by the torrent side 
To lead me as He leads His flocks 
Of wild deer through the lonely rocks 
In peace, unterrified ; 

Since from the things that trustful rest, 
The partridge on her purple nest, 
The marmot in his den, 
God wins a worship more resigned, 
A purer praise than He can find 
Upon the lips of men. 



MOXT BLAXC REVISITED 239 

Alas for man ! who hath no sense 
Of gratefulness nor confidence, 
But still rejects and raves, 
That all God's love can hardly win 
One soul from taking pride in sin, 
And pleasures over graves. 

But teach me, God, a milder thought, 
Lest I, of all Thy Blood has bought, 
Least honourable be ; 
And this that moves me to condemn 
Be rather want of love for them, 
Than jealousy for Thee. 



THE ARVE AT CLUSE 

(age 26) 

Hast thou no rest, oh, stream perplexed and pale I 
That thus forget'st, in thine unhallowed rage, 
The pureness of thy mountain parentage ? 

Unprofitable power ! that dost assail 

The shore thou should 'st refresh, and weariest 
The boughs thou shouldest water ; whose unrest 

Strews thy white whirl with leaves untimely frail, 

Fierce river ! to whose strength — whose avarice — 

The rocks resist not, nor the vales suffice, 

Cloven and wasted ; fearfully I trace 

Backward thy borders, image of my race ! 

Who born, like thee, near Heaven, have lost, like 
thee, 
Their heritage of peace. Roll on, thus proud, 

Impatient, and pollute ! I would not see 

Thy force less fatal or thy path less free ; 
But I would cast upon thy waves the cloud 

Of passions that are like thee, and baptize 
My spirit from its tumult at this Gate 

Of Glory, that my lifted heart and eyes, 

Purged even by thee from things that desolate 

Or darken, may receive, divinely given, 

The radiance of that world where all is stilled 
In worship, and the sacred mountains build 

Their brightness of stability in Heaven. 

240 



MONT BLANC 

(age 26) 

He who looks upward from the vale by night, 

When the clouds vanish and the winds are stayed, 
For ever finds, in Heaven's serenest height, 

A space that hath no stars — a mighty shade — 
A vacant form, immovably displayed, 
Steep in the unstable vault. The planets droop 
Behind it ; the fleece-laden moonbeams fade ; 
The midnight constellations, troop by troop, 
Depart and leave it with the dawn alone ; 
Uncomprehended yet, and hardly known 
For finite, but by what it takes away 
Of the east's purple deepening into day. 
Still, for a time, it keeps its awful rest, 
Cold as the prophet's pile on Carmel's crest : 
Then falls the fire of God. — Far off or near, 
Earth and the sea, wide worshipping, descry 
That burning altar in the morning sky ; 
And the strong pines their utmost ridges rear, 
Moved like a host, in angel-guided fear 
And sudden faith. So stands the Providence 

Of God around us ; mystery of Love ! 
Obscure, unchanging, darkness and defence, — 

Impenetrable and unmoved above 
The valley of our watch ; but which shall be 
The light of Heaven hereafter, when the strife 
Of wandering stars, that rules this night of life, 
Dies in the dawning of Eternity. 



WRITTEN AMONG THE BASSES ALPES 

(age 26) 

It" is not among mountain-scenery that the human 
intellect usually takes its finest temper or receives its 
highest development ; but it is at least there that we find 
a consistent energy of mind and body, compelled by 
severer character of agencies to be resisted and hardships 
to be endured ; and it is there that we must seek for the 
last remnants of patriarchal simplicity and patriotic 
affection — the few rock fragments of manly character 
that are yet free from the lichenous stain of over-civiliza- 
tion. It must always, therefore, be with peculiar pain 
that we find, as in the district to which the following 
verses allude, the savageness and seclusion of mountain- 
life without its force and faithfulness ; and all the indo- 
lence and sensuality of the most debased cities of Europe, 
without the polish to disguise, the temptation to excuse, 
or the softness of natural scenery to harmonize with 
them. 

' Why stand ye here all the day idle ? ' 

Have you in heaven no hope — on earth no care — 

Xo foe in hell — ye things of stye and stall, 
That congregate like flies, and make the air 

Rank with your fevered sloth — that hourly call 
The sun, which should your servant be, to bear 

Dread witness on you, with uncounted wane 
And unregarded rays, from peak to peak 

Of piny-gnomoned mountain moved in vain ? 
Behold, the very shadows that ye seek 

For slumber, write along the wasted wall 
Your condemnaton. They forget not, they, 

Their ordered function, and determined fall, 

242 



AMOXG THE BASSES ALPES 243 

Xor useless perish. But yon count your day 
By sins, and write your difference from clay 
In bonds you break, and laws you disobey. 
God ! who hast given the rocks their fortitude, 
The sap unto the forests, and their food 

And vigour to the busy tenantry 

Of happy, soulless things that wait on Thee, 
Hast Thou no blessing where Thou gav'st Thy 
blood ? 

Wilt Thou not make Thy fair creation whole ? 
Behold and visit this Thy vine for good — 

Breathe in this human dust its living soul. 



THE GLACIER 

(age 26) 

The mountains have a peace which none disturb ; 

The stars and clouds a course which none restrain ; 
The wild sea-waves rejoice without a curb, 

And rest without a passion ; but the chain 
Of Death, upon this ghastly cliff and chasm, 
^ Is broken evermore, to bind again, 

Nor lulls nor looses. Hark ! a voice of pain 
Suddenly silenced ; a quick-passing spasm, 

That startles rest, but grants not liberty — 

A shudder, or a struggle, or a cry — 
And then sepulchral stillness. Look on us, 

God ! who hast given these hills their place of 
pride, 
If Death's captivity be sleepless thus, 

For those who sink to it unsanctified. 



244 



INDEX OF FIRST LINES 

PAGE 

Amidst a vale of springing leaves 214 

Around her shrine no earthly blossoms blow . .232 

Faint from the bell the ghastly echoes fall . . 42 
Farewell ! that glance so swift, so bright . .189 
From your high dwellings in the realms of snow . 18 
Full broad and bright is the silver light ... 36 

Hast thou no rest, oh, stream perplexed and pale ! 240 

Have you in heaven no hope — on earth no care . 242 

He was a strange, yet gentle youth 79 

He who looks upward from the vale by night . . 241 

I ought to be joyful ; the jest and the song . . 40 

I think my soul was childish yet 91 

I weary for the torrent leaping 1 

It is most sad to see — to know 113 

It lies beside the river, where its marge . . .187 

It saw, it knew thy loveliness 87 

Its masts of might, its sails so free 58 

Look not upon me thus impatiently 206 

O Mount beloved, mine eyes again 238 

Oh ! the pause of silent dread 89 

Oh ! warmly down the sunbeams fell .... 6 

Say ye I wept ? I do not know 177 

She lays her down in beauty's light .... 16 

She sat beside me yesternight 20 

Six days the mist was breathed into the sky . . 84 

Slow lifts the night her starry host 220 

Mi 



'4" 



IXDEX OF FIRST LIXES 



That slow and heavy hell hath knolled 

The beams of morning are renewed 

The feast is full, the guests are gay 

The glory of a cloud — without its wane. 

The gust sung soft and well, as if to keep 

The mountains have a peace which none disturb 

The paths of life are rudely laid 

The Summer wind is soft and kind . 

The winter's chill hath charmed the wave 

There was a time, in Anglo-land 

There's a change in the green of the leaf 

They laid the lord 

They went away at break of day 
Thou know"st the place where purple rocks 
Though thou hast not a feeling for one 
'Tis eve — and o'er the face of parting day 
Together on the valley, white and sweet 
'TWAS in the hollow of a forest dim 



PAGE 
173 
217 

105 

237 

77 

243 

185 

78 

82 

10 

86 

37 

3 

202 

75 

62 

228 

21 



Ye have darkened mine honour and branded my 
name 

You ask me why mine eyes are bent 

We care not what skies are the clearest 

When our delight is desolate 

When war-worn Greece accused, in grief of heart 
With the hills of their fathers around them 
With what a glory and a grace 



59 
234 

73 

204 

44 

56 

17 



Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London. 



PR 


Ruskin, John 


5258 


Poems 


Al 




1907 





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